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.

In their labs at the University of Colorado, research scientists Dirk Richter and Petter Weibring were busy building lasers to detect gasses when Richter heard about a contest being held by the Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit advocacy group.

“My wife forwarded me a tweet from the EDF saying this is a challenge," Richter said. "We looked at it and said, ‘Well, I think I have an idea. We can do this.’"

On a recent drive from Dublin to the northern city of Londonderry, the only way I knew I had crossed an international border was because the GPS screen in my rental car told me so. 

"You have entered the United Kingdom," it said. 

The thing to know about the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of Great Britain, and the Republic of Ireland, which will remain part of the European Union after Brexit, is this: there really isn't one. 

Long before Americans heard about Russians using social media as part of a broader interference campaign in the 2016 US presidential elections, the Kremlin was trolling its own citizens.

For years, reports have surfaced of nondescript buildings in St. Petersburg and Moscow that teemed with trolls who produced blog posts, comments and memes designed to influence opinions, sow confusion and sway voters’ opinions.

In Russia, a ‘ghost empire’ rises

Mar 19, 2018

In July of 2016, I wrangled a rare invitation to the Baltic Factory, a legendary shipyard in Saint Petersburg, for the maiden voyage of the Arktika. 

This was no ordinary ship. The first of a series of next-generation Russian nuclear icebreakers, the Arktika was and is touted as the biggest and most powerful ship of its kind — a mammoth football field-sized vessel that could cut through ice almost 10 feet deep on ostensibly endless journeys through the most desolate areas of the globe. And while it’s doing that, Arktika is also securing Russia’s economic future. 

The recent departure of a former US Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson is putting a spotlight on the agency’s special operations — large, multi-day investigations that identify, arrest and deport people who are deemed a risk to public safety and have committed immigration violations.

On hearing the news of a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, some parents from the remote town of Chibok northeast Nigeria began planning a trip to Abuja, capital city of the country. Almost four years ago, on April 14, 2014, these parents lost more than 200 of their own children when the girls were kidnapped from a school dormitory in Chibok.

Sometime after midnight in mid-May of 2017, 27-year-old JeanCarlo Jimenez Joseph fashioned a noose from a bed sheet and hanged himself in his solitary confinement cell at the Stewart Detention Center, located in the pine woods of southwest Georgia. Stewart’s low-slung complex lies behind two tall chain-linked fences, each crowned with huge spirals of glinting barbed wire. Beginning in 2006, the facility began to house undocumented immigrants detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.​

Six months after Maria, Puerto Rico is burdened with challenges

Mar 15, 2018


As Puerto Rico approaches the six-month mark since Hurricane Maria devastated the island, many want to know why thousands of residents are still without power.


On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and said current CIA Director Mike Pompeo would replace him. Trump then tapped Gina Haspel the CIA's deputy director to take Pompeo's job. 

Related: 'It's like starting over': What Pompeo means for diplomacy

Inside the student union at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), members of the campus College Republicans club are holding their monthly meeting, brainstorming questions for a congressional candidate debate they are hosting on campus.

One student suggests a question on border security, “If not a wall, how do you suggest we secure our border?”

One of the most visible ways that cultures mingle in America is through food. So it’s no wonder that when PRI's The World asked, as part of our Global Nation coverage, why Filipino cuisine hasn't spread like Thai or Chinese in this country, the reaction was strong.

Yoo In-sik slides open the front door of his repair shop, and a man on a mobility scooter pulls in. Yoo grabs an air hose, he fills his tires and backs out onto the street of this neighborhood in northern Seoul.

Yoo’s office is filled with parts of motorized wheel chairs and other adaptive equipment for persons with disabilities. Resting against the wall is a pair of skis and next to those is a device he made himself called an outrigger — it has ski blades which attach to his legs and helps Yoo stay balanced whenever he hits the slopes.

A guide to Russian ‘demotivator’ memes

Mar 12, 2018

Long before Russia ever launched social media campaigns in the US, Kremlin-backed trolling was alive and well at home. In this online underworld of paid seeders, twitterati and trolls, “demotivators” — Russian internet picture memes — play a special bottom-feeder role.

My dad, Danilo, got a contract at White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles, California just after my brother Chris was born. My two younger brothers and I didn't see him again for almost 10 years.

During the school year, we lived in a small, two-bedroom apartment in Quezon City in Metro Manila, sharing the space with my uncle, an accountant for an American company, and two aunts, a librarian and a nursing student.

In the summer, they shipped my brothers and I to my grandparents’ home in the rural province of Isabela.

Lyudmila Pavlichenko, history’s deadliest female sniper, is considered to be a Soviet propaganda myth by some, including some people in Russia. The divorced teenage mother from the tiny Ukrainian town of Bila Tserkva is credited with killing at least 309 Nazis — she simply sounds too good to be true.

Pavlichenko was certainly used in the Soviet propaganda effort to get the United States involved in the war effort in Europe in 1942. While on a tour of the States, she frequently surprised American reporters by not attempting to be traditionally feminine or smartly dressed.

For the first time, North Korea has sent athletes to compete in the Winter Paralympics.  


The North’s team received a warm welcome as they entered Pyeongchang’s Olympic stadium on Friday. Thousands of LEDs placed throughout the stands glowed red, blue and white to form the shape of the country’s flag — a display that if for any other occasion, would be illegal in South Korea. 

Related: Ice Warriors: USA sled hockey team prepares for the 2014 Paralympics

For the past three weeks, Maram, a young Syrian mother, has been living in an underground shelter with her 3-year-old son, Ahmad, and his 8-month-old brother, Omar.

Like other underground shelters around their neighborhood in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus, this one is filled to capacity. They eat and sleep and wait out the days alongside 150 people as bombs fall overhead, reducing everything to rubble. They hardly see daylight and can’t get enough food. When they get a chance to peek outside, they can hardly recognize their own homes and streets.

Sudan Archives has a funkier approach to violin.

After taking a few lessons in Western classical styles and playing Irish jigs in fiddle club, she started experimenting. Sudan Archives researched West African and Sudanese fiddling styles and that’s where she draws her influence.

There is a much more informal relationship with the instruments, and the style is much more candid and playful in West African fiddling than classical styles. In some recordings, it comes through as an almost industrial or full-texture sound.

On Tuesday, the arrests on Capitol Hill totaled 116 people, immigrant groups reported. Several dozen people chained themselves together and blocked midday traffic. Police labored to sever the chains in order to arrest the demonstrators. Others were arrested during a sit-in at the offices of Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. 

“We believe that we will win!” the demonstrators chanted.

This happened as about 900 young immigrants protested inaction by Congress to pass legislation to give them permanent legal status the United States.

Sylejman Neziri owns a grocery store in Ferizaj, a city in southern Kosovo where the population is mostly ethnic Albanian. He has a policy in his store: No Serbian products allowed.

The war in Kosovo happened nearly 20 years ago, but it’s still fresh in Neziri’s mind.

“The Serbian army and police massacred thousands of Albanians, raped more than 20,000 women, poisoned children,” Neziri says. “Considering this massacre, I cannot imagine having their products on my table.”

Many economists are sounding alarm bells over President Donald Trump's apparent push toward protectionism and an all-out retaliatory trade war. They say history is clear: It's a bad idea.

The Great Depression pushed millions of Americans into catastrophic poverty — which lasted for years. Savings were wiped out. Unemployment reached 25 percent, and in an age without public assistance, many depended on charity to simply survive. The hunger and humiliation scarred a generation.

Why the US military is building a drone base in Niger

Mar 6, 2018

On Oct. 4, 2017, nine soldiers were killed in a convoy leaving the village of Tongo Tongo in Niger.

Four of those soldiers were American.

The tragedy shocked Americans and Nigeriens alike — most people weren’t even aware that there were US soldiers on the ground.

In February 1968, the Beatles embarked on their famous discovery of India to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Now 50 years later India is rediscovering the Beatles — or at least the tourism potential of the world’s most famous rock band seeking salvation in the country.

“Most of the bodies were floating face down. Some wore life jackets. But there were a lot of life jackets without any bodies inside. At first I saw just one body, then another and another and another. It was terrible. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.”

Cheng doesn’t take his eyes off the floor as he enters Annalisa Bressan’s house. His cheeks are pink from crying and despite Bressan’s insistence, the boy doesn’t say a word about what happened. His sister, Cheng Jun, does the explaining. Turns out, the kids’ father didn’t like Cheng’s grade in Italian class and took away his cellphone.

“But you had a beautiful grade! I will talk to your father and explain. Don’t worry,” Bressan says, laughing.

Suddenly at peace, the boy sits down at Bressan’s kitchen table, ready to do some homework.

One of Egypt's most beloved pop stars, Sherine Abdel Wahab, was sentenced this week to six months in prison after joking with concertgoers. She's just one of several entertainers targeted in a crackdown by Egyptian authorities in the lead-up to this month's presidential elections.

Egyptian American author Mona Eltahawy says Sherine, as the singer is known, is one of the most famous pop stars in the Middle East.

"She's on one of those talent shows where she's one of the judges. She's one of the biggest names in the region," Eltahawy says. "So, this is really shocking."  

Clara is a college student in Toronto, and in a few days, she's flying home to Paris to visit her family and friends. She also stopping at a fromagerie to buy some cheese to bring back to Canada, specifically Comté, a cousin of Gruyere made under strict rules in the French Alps. 

Two brothers who spent 14 years apart sit at a kitchen table in a mobile home outside of Minneapolis. The elder one, David, looks around at the freshly painted blue walls with pride. He’s adding new window frames, flooring and appliances bit by bit to make a home for his family.

David left El Salvador on Sept. 1, 2005. He was 20 and the journey to Minnesota, where his father was living, took 22 days.

“You remember the whole trip, counting each day to get here,” he says. “We didn’t come on the plane.”

In the latest chapter of a closely watched immigration case, the Supreme Court this week shot down a lower court’s ruling that some detained immigrants have a right to bond hearings.

The case centers on the Jennings v. Rodriguez class-action lawsuit. Its lead plaintiff, Alejandro Rodriguez, a legal permanent resident, was convicted as a teenager of joyriding and minor drug possession. He was detained for three years with no bond hearing. Eventually, he won his release.

The Sung sisters, Vera, Jill and Chantrelle, still find it bewildering that they went from being accused of mortgage fraud to being the stars of an Oscar-nominated documentary.

On March 4, they’ll attend the Academy Awards ceremony, where the film about their fight against fraud charges is nominated for Best Documentary Feature.

Before the documentary, the family's only connection to Hollywood was by name. Two of the sisters were named after actresses, Jill St. John and Vera Miles.