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.

An independence movement may seem to be the perfect trigger for a great song.

It's bound to be energetic and optimistic, and ought to have all sorts of emblems of identity of the people seeking independence.

Take a band called Txarango, from Catalonia. It's pure Catalan rock music in the Catalan language.

Travel to Cuba by American citizens just got harder with the Trump administration's release of new regulations governing relations with the island nation. While the rules are largely a formalization of what Donald Trump promised earlier this year, they include a long list of entities that are now off-limits to US travelers including an elegant new downtown hotel and favored shops in Old Havana.

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.

Like many people with roots in the rural parts of Montana, Drew Taylor didn’t like the idea of Muslim Syrian refugees settling in Missoula. And so, when a pro-refugee group held a demonstration downtown, Taylor joined the counter-demonstration and held up a sign that said “Americans first.”

“I personally thought they wanted to bring radical jihad Muslims to Missoula. That’s the original impression I got from things I was reading. That upsets me,” she says.

One Boston family's wish to get a letter to their grandmother in Puerto Rico

Nov 8, 2017
Andrea Crossan/PRI 

Right after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico last month, I saw a message from my friend Jennifer Santos Franceschini.

Jennifer is Puerto Rican and lives in Boston. She was posting on social media that she was really worried out about her family on the island.

She posted these messages on Facebook just after the hurricane hit:

Jennifer was born in Puerto Rico. She moved to Boston when she was 5.

Jennifer says her most vivid childhood memory from that time was when she was in kindergarten.

After every mass shooting — like the one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday — the satirical news website The Onion publishes the same article: 'No Way to Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.

But epidemiologist Gary Slutkin says there is a way. 

What the missile strike on Riyadh means

Nov 8, 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. 

A century after the October Revolution, Moscow shrugs

Nov 8, 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.

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.

Adam Grossberg/KQED

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.

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.

Twitter ignored warnings about Russian accounts in 2015

Nov 8, 2017
Lucas Jackson/Reuters

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Stephen Smith

Kim Sook-nyeon, 69, lives in a cozy apartment in Seoul with her son. His name is Layne Fostervold. And he’s an American who grew up in Willmar, Minnesota.

Fostervold was adopted when he was about 2 years old and says he had a good childhood. But he couldn’t shake the questions he had about his biological mother back in South Korea.

“I always felt my mom tried to keep me for a while or was trying to make it work,” he says. “And then for whatever reason [it didn’t work], but I felt like for my entire life she really wanted to keep me.”

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. 

Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin-Sputnik

Vladimir Putin came late to the cyber arena.

Up until a few years ago, the Russian leader seemed to all but ignore the internet and spoke out loudly against it. He called the web a "CIA project," with interests that opposed Russia.

Author Richard Lourie says that's basically because Putin is "a television guy."

The recent allegations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein have sparked a global conversation about the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. We devoted all of Friday's episode of PRI's The World to workplace sexual harassment. Listen to the entire program below or scroll down to hear specific segments. 

Take our survey about sexual harassment in the workplace, below

Marcos Brindicci/Reuters

BuzzFeed's Karla Zabludovsky recently wrote an in-depth piece about the #NiUnaMenos grassroots movement to expose femicide in Argentina. Ni una menos translates to "Not one [woman] less." Zabludovsky focused especially on one tireless campaigner, Micaela García, whose murder earlier this year has shaken her fellow activists.

The missing tracks from the 'Rumble in the Jungle'

Nov 3, 2017

In the fall of 1974, a boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman took place in Kinshasa, Zaire.

The fight was dubbed "Rumble in the Jungle." It was epic then, and historic now. 

Muhammad Ali's robe from the fight is at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Books and films, including the 1996 Academy-awarding winning documentary "When We Were Kings," have been made about the bout.

In Syria, all girls want is safety and school

Nov 1, 2017
Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

Syria was once home to a robust, highly educated middle class.  

Books were an important part of the culture, and literacy was highly prized, for girls as well as boys. 

But the Syria's grinding six-year war has endangered all that — especially for young women. 

Many girls that might have received a rigorous education are now being married off at a young age. 

That's what journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon found out recently when she visited the Syrian town of Tabqa — outside of Raqqa.

Comedian Sherry Cola, representing “Team Rabbit,” eyed her opponent for her first one-on-one rap battle. She had 30 seconds to take down actress Andi Hester of “Team Elephant,” who Cola noticed was wearing her hair in two pigtail buns.

“Are you half Asian?” Cola asked. Hester nodded, as the beat started.

“You’re only half Asian, but I don’t know how,” Cola began rapping, “‘cause on top of her head, she’s rockin’ some xiao long baos.”

The family that helped start the opioid crisis

Oct 27, 2017
George Frey/Reuters

When President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, he pointed a finger directly at Mexico.

“An astonishing 90 percent of the heroin in America comes from south of the border,” he said, “where we will be building a wall which will greatly help with this problem.''

But the truth is that the opioid epidemic started here in the US. Back in 1995, a family owned-company called Purdue Pharma in Stamford, Connecticut, invented a pain-killer called OxyContin.

After 40 years, 'Never Mind the Bollocks'

Oct 27, 2017
Andrew Winning/Reuters

Oct. 28 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of "Never Mind the Bollocks" by British punk band the Sex Pistols, undoubtedly one of the most iconic — and controversial— albums ever made.