The World

M-F 3-4pm

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

http://www.theworld.org/

Michael Brun delivers a message from Haiti — one summer block party at a time

Jun 12, 2018

Michael Brun held his microphone out toward the crowd at Miami’s Little Haiti Cultural Complex as they erupted in cheers and some waved Haitian flags. The venue was packed, the cocktail bar did a roaring trade and the smells of fried pork griot and spiced pickled cabbage, or pikliz, and fried plantains were in the air.

At 3 a.m. in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, a crew of four young Palestinian men sang, chanted and drummed in a chorus. The traditional Ramadan musical procession is called musahar. And they're musaharatis, or volunteers tasked with waking Muslim worshippers for their pre-dawn meal and prayer before the day’s fast.

Yocelyn’s 18-month-old has chickenpox. Her younger brother, who is 21, caught it too.

“I take the kids to the doctor because they have Medi-Cal, but we have to put up with it if we get sick,” she says.

Medi-Cal, California’s insurance for low-income families, covers children regardless of their immigration status but only provides coverage to undocumented adults in specific, often extraordinary, circumstances. Yocelyn’s brother has had a high fever for two days.

Sherry Ott has been all over the world. Borneo, Mongolia, Nepal — she writes about travel for a living.

But Antarctica was different.

It’s “the closest you can get to leaving this planet," Ott says. “This was the first place ever that I had been where clearly people were not in charge.”

The photos on Naomi’s cell phone tell a gruesome story: shriveled and discolored skin on her now 8-year-old son’s left-hand.

She said he suffered third-degree burns when her former boyfriend threw a pot of hot oil at her, but it scalded her son instead. This happened back home in Honduras, when the boy was 4. The mother asked us not to use her real name in order to protect her identity while she seeks asylum.

"It's something I'm going to remember my whole life," Naomi said, adding that she feels guilty about her son's injuries but knows they are not her fault.

Step into the City Hostel Berlin and you'd be forgiven for not noticing anything strange at all. The budget backpacker hotel near the Brandenburg Gate in former East Berlin has a spacious lobby, a big-screen TV, a pool table and room for hundreds of guests in its no-frills shared bunkbed rooms. Multilingual receptionists hand out rental towels and bartenders take orders for 12 kinds of beer at the hostel's busy bar. 

Most college students in the US are making plans for the summer. For some of the many Puerto Rican college students who came to the mainland to continue their studies after Hurricane Maria roared through the island last September, this time of the year brings a more complex question — whether to stay or go back home.

The city-state of Singapore is preparing to host a much-hyped summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday.

Local speculation about where, exactly, the summit would be held was resolved this week. The two men, and possibly South Korean President Moon Jae-in, will hold talks at a swank hotel on Sentosa, an island resort just off the mainland that also features a water park, a Universal Studios theme park and a casino.  

For millions of women worldwide, menstruation is seen as a mark of shame. Many are told not to discuss it in public, to hide their tampons and sanitary pads. The stigma is universal, rendering women and girls vulnerable to health problems and gender discrimination.

In her new book, "It's Only Blood: Shattering the Taboo of Menstruation," Swedish author Anna Dahlqvist traveled to Rwanda, Uganda, Bangladesh and India to find out the menstrual rules across the world.

Sassafrass. It's what musician Tami Neilson defines as "a sassy person who speaks her mind." It's also the title of her new album, "Sassafrass!"

Residents of Yemeni port city prepare for an invasion

Jun 6, 2018

News over the weekend that the Trump administration was considering expanding the US role in the Yemen war may have been premature. 

A National Security Council spokesperson on Monday denied reports that the White House was weighing whether to directly assist a possible Saudi-led coalition invasion of Yemen's Red Sea port of Hodeidah. 

When Neriza Caspe said goodbye to her four children in the Philippines 18 years ago, she didn't know how long she'd be gone — just that she wanted to work abroad to better provide for them, and escape her abusive husband.

Karla Ornelas remembers the moment when she received her DACA card in the fall of 2012. The rush of emotions, the sense of hope, the embrace of acceptance. For the first time since growing up in the shadows in California’s Central Valley, she had moved into the light.

It was the middle of April when they showed up at the border, covered in mud. Ana, eight months pregnant, accompanied by her 4-year-old daughter, had just crossed the Rio Grande into Texas.

“We didn’t have shoes on, we stood there in our socks,” she says.

Breaking into the hyper-competitive K-pop music industry is notoriously brutal. But what if you’re a foreigner — and gay?

Meet Marshall Bang, better known to audiences as MRSHLL. He’s a Korean American singer from Orange County, California, who's trying to conquer South Korea’s music scene with his rich, chocolatey voice, and at the same time upend its culturally conservative mores. 

Two years ago, Vanessa Roanhorse was in Taos, New Mexico, with her husband, and they walked by the Kit Carson museum.

"My husband was like 'who's Kit Carson?'” says Roanhorse. “I'm looking at him thinking, ‘how do you not know who Kit Carson is?'”

Although Carson is a significant part of US history, people outside of the Southwest generally have no idea who he was. He was a frontiersman, famous as a tracker and wilderness guide and for shaping New Mexico.

At a café near Williams College in the Berkshires, in western Massachusetts, students crammed for final exams. Sitting in the back, junior Tyler Tsay, an American studies major, had something else on his mind as well.

“It's very necessary to have an Asian American studies program, if only to complete the American Studies program that already exists on campus,” Tsay said.

Halina Litman Yasharoff Peabody remembers the events of her life during the Holocaust in remarkable detail.

She was only 6 when Russians invaded her Polish town, arrested her father and sent him to a prison camp in Siberia. The Germans arrived in 1941, setting off a string of horrors for Peabody, her mother and her baby sister: the hiding, the ghetto, the mass graves, the escape by train and the bomb that took two of her fingers.

Germany's Jewish population is small, somewhere around 200,000. Yet in German schoolyards, the word “Jew” is heard regularly, and not in a good way.

“'Jew' is an insult here,” says Berlin resident Gemma Michalski. “If you want to insult somebody, whether they're Jewish or not, it doesn't matter, but it's the thing you throw at them: 'Ah he's a real Jew,' or 'You're a Jew.' That's a sort of go-to insult.”

In 1942, there were 44 people living on Attu Island, nearly all Alaska Natives. They were taken as captives to Japan, where half of them died. And after the war, the federal government forbade them from returning.

But in August, a group of 11 descendants finally visited their ancestral home for the first time.

Related: Seventy-five years after the Battle of Attu, veterans reflect on the cost of reclaiming US soil

A note to listeners and readers: A person in this story uses an offensive word for Japanese people.

Seventy-five years ago, Japan and the United States were locked in one of the bloodiest battles fought on American soil: the Battle of Attu.

Army veteran Allan Serroll served on Attu Island, which sits at the westernmost end of the Aleutian Islands — closer to Japan than Seattle.

Serroll is now 102. But he’s still haunted by the experience of staring down young men like himself.

I
Tiziana Rinaldi

Julia’s young daughters run around looking for a plug to recharge the battery for her ankle bracelet. The first one doesn’t work, or the second. What if mom’s monitor goes off? Arany’s face tenses up as she darts toward another wall socket at the far end of the immigration clinic.

“I feel detained. It’s so humiliating,” says Julia, 31, in her native Spanish. Like others who are facing deportation, she preferred we not use her last name.

Two years ago, during Ramadan, Saagar Shaikh and Shaan Baig were in a car hanging with friends when they went down the rabbit hole of revisiting all of their favorite ‘90s Bollywood songs. It started with “Oh Oh Jane Jaana,” the 1998 classic from the film "Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya," which Shaikh credits with getting him into Bollywood in the first place.

Then they moved onto Baig’s favorites, all the old-school Shah Rukh Khan hits. Soon, they were reminiscing about how they used to try to memorize the dance moves when they watched the movies.

Delivering food is now a dangerous job in Venezuela

May 29, 2018

After 10 hours on the road from the central Venezuelan plains, Gregorio Pinanco reaches the capital, Caracas. It’s 6 a.m., but Pinanco says it’s already been a terrible day. The road was blocked and people tried to loot his truck. He rubs the fatigue from his eyes and starts unloading his precious cargo — 6,000 pounds of white Guayanés cheese.

It wasn’t even close. 

Right up until the day of the vote last Friday, most observers thought the outcome of Ireland’s national referendum on abortion was too close to call. In the end, the "yes" side — voting to repeal Ireland’s Eighth Amendment, which declared the equal right to life for both the mother and the unborn — won by a landslide. 

“A historic day for Ireland,” is how Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar characterized the results, which began to be clear on Friday night, even before the official count was announced. 

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.

Sweden's new law on affirmative consent is hailed, but questions remain

May 26, 2018

As Sweden joins 10 other western European countries with a new consent law, there’s still much to figure out about what happens next.

The new law was passed Wednesday by an overwhelming majority (257 to 38, with 54 absentees) in the country’s parliament. Still, the two biggest opposition parties, The Moderate Party and the Sweden Democrats, are skeptical.

For a group of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, the first few days of the holy month of Ramadan have not brought forgiveness and compassion. On the contrary, they have been a time of silencing and intimidation.

The activists were taken away from their homes and placed in detention for campaigning against the driving ban and demanding an end to the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia — the system that requires the consent of a male relative for major decisions such as getting a passport or traveling outside the Kingdom.

Brazil is in the grip of a huge drought, and the country faces a special challenge as it tries to curb water use: showers.

Brazilians love their showers. Many shower three times a day, and the AP reports that Brazilians are "the world's most frequent bathers, taking on average 12 showers a week, putting rub-a-dub-dub up there with soccer and Carnival as essentials of the culture."

How to save rhinos? By turning their dung into paper.

May 25, 2018

In a small factory in the northeastern India, a strange type of swill churns in a vat. Bits of chopped-up old hosiery swirl around in almost 200 gallons of water while, at six-second intervals, 72-year-old Mahesh Bora adds fists full of rhino dung.

Yes, you read that right.

Bora is making paper. The rhino dung adds fiber to the paper, and Bora says the whole enterprise will help save the endangered Asian one-horned rhinoceros.

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