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.

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One year ago, on the afternoon of Sept. 19, Wesley Bocxe was at home with his wife, Elizabeth Esguerra, in their eighth-floor apartment in the trendy Mexico City neighborhood of Condesa. Elizabeth was in the kitchen preparing lunch. Wesley was in bed with a fever. Their young daughter, Amara, was at school.

Two years ago, Hamissi Mamba was living in Burundi. He came to Detroit as a refugee and joined his wife and young twin daughters who were already living in the US — moving to a new country, navigating a new culture, mastering a new language.

“I think that was a big challenge for me because I didn't even take a class. I’ve been watching cartoons with my girls,” Mamba says.  

Quickly, he’s gone from cartoon watcher to English-proficient budding restaurant owner in Detroit.

Rosa Elena Mastache Dominguez, 54, comes from a family of fishermen. Some four generations back, her ancestors claimed a little piece of shoreline on the north-central coast of Puerto Rico. They built a house on the black-speckled sand, looking out onto palms and blue-green water.  

“My grandparents grew up here, my grandparents raised my parents here, my parents raised us [here],” she said.  

Billions of people all over the globe are already feeling the impacts of climate change — from the deserts of Somaliland to the peat bogs of northern Canada. Here are some stories from the front lines of climate change that we gathered at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in mid-September (listen to each person talk by clicking the audio players below the images).

Related: California emerges as a leader at climate summit

There is one very large muscle in my forehead that begins to twitch uncontrollably in the presence of injustice. It may have just aged my face five years in as many months, and it will be guaranteed a regular workout for the next four years.

If you can spare a few spasms of your own, I'd like to tell you about a particularly twitchy morning I recently spent, as I often do, in a Boston courtroom handling the cases of immigrant detainees.

She was 23 and not allowed to work in 2005 when she first came to the United States. Now 36, Archana Vaidyanathan is interviewing with major technology firms in Northern California to see if her expertise is still in demand.

Vaidyanathan holds an H-4 visa, given to family of those who come to the US with H-1B visas, sponsored by employers. The Department of Homeland Security filed an update in federal court on Aug. 20 that a new rule to rescind the right to work for spouses of H-1B visa holders is in its final stages of “clearance review.”

The traffic in the tiny German neighborhood of Kolzenburg was mostly cyclists and sparrows when Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) state representative Birgit Bessin drove into town with a blue trailer hitched to her white Mercedes earlier this month.

Bessin isn't facing elections this year, but she says she is criss-crossing her district to get a feel for what voters are thinking.

“We want to speak to persons from the tiny, small, sweet villages who perhaps don’t come to our events in other states,” she says.

California emerges as a leader at climate summit

Sep 14, 2018

When President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate change agreement last summer, cities, states and business leaders quickly tried to jump into the leadership void.  

Chief among them was California Gov. Jerry Brown, who announced just weeks later he would gather leaders from around the world for a high-level climate summit in San Francisco.

Kathy Kriger was a born diplomat who made her mark even at a young age. 

“She was voted the wittiest girl in our class,” said Diane Dwyer Rosa, who attended high school with Kriger in Lake Oswego, Oregon. “Always happy and funny and always had something funny to say or do, she was just a happy person.” 

About a decade ago, Rick Desautel, an American descendant of the Sinixt tribe of Canada, decided to challenge a declaration by the Canadian government — that the Sinixt in Canada were officially extinct.

The declaration had come after the last Sinixt member in British Columbia passed away in 1956. As a result, Sinixt descendants like Desautel who regularly crossed the US border into Canada lost their rights to traditional land claims in that country.

It takes a lot of courage to speak up in support of women and women’s rights in a male-dominated country like Afghanistan.

But that’s exactly what Sahar Fetrat did.

At an opening for a new bookstore in Kabul, the 22-year-old documentary filmmaker and women’s rights activist describes how she first got into filmmaking.

There's been a lot of criticism on social media about money being diverted a few weeks ago from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The amount? About $10 million.

The World fact-checked this and located the congressional document to prove it.

Scientists say 25 years left to fight climate change

Sep 13, 2018

You can think of global warming kind of like popping a bag of popcorn in the microwave.

Anthropogenic, or human-caused, warming has been stoked by increasing amounts of heat-trapping pollution since the start of the industrial age more than 200 years ago. But that first hundred years or so was kind of like the first minute for that popcorn — no real sign of much happening.

Resty was desperate. She had fled Uganda and was in Pittsburgh when her toddler, Maria, got sick. They didn’t have insurance, and Resty felt hopeless. Then, while watching the news, she realized there was another option.

“I was seeing it on the news and internet,” says Resty. “And then I was like, ‘If those people can make it to Canada, I can too.’”

PRI is withholding Resty’s last name so she can speak without fear of affecting her chances at asylum.

Twenty-five-year-old Zahra is convinced she is not pretty.

First, it’s her eyes.

“I want to get rid of this extra skin,” she says, pinching the skin above her eyes. “It pains me to even look at it,” she adds, pulling at it with her fingers.

Then, there’s that nose. That “small, flat, unattractive nose,” as Zahra describes it. She wants a bigger one.

A year ago, Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Houston and other cities in Texas. Thousands of families spent their days salvaging what they could from their homes.

Among them was Silvia and her family, who lost their apartment to the flooding. We met as Silvia spent a hot afternoon trying to save what the waters spared.

“We’re just here taking out, saving what we can,” she said.

It wasn’t much, apart from some shoes and a few chairs.

On a hot August day last year, President Donald Trump held a meeting with a group of his top military advisers at Camp David.

On the agenda was whether the US should increase its troops in Afghanistan. Trump’s position before his presidency was clear: The US should withdraw from Afghanistan.

 

Globally, people are living longer. What are the most compelling ways to ensure a sustainably healthy life? In this live-streamed event, author and speaker Deepak Chopra discussed the important connections between mind, immunity, genes and body.

The last time Jewher Ilham saw her father in person was more than five years ago at the Beijing airport.

She was an 18-year-old college freshman when her dad had secured a position as a visiting scholar at Indiana University. Jewher planned to accompany him on the trip to America. She would visit the US for the first time, stay for a few weeks and then fly back to university in China. 

At least, that was the plan. 

“We got to the airport successfully and we checked our bags,” Ilham recounted. “We got our boarding passes. Everything seemed so smooth.” 

On the evening of Aug. 24, 2016, as the sound of explosions and gunfire filled the air on campus at the American University of Afghanistan, freshman Zakira Rasooli had only one thought: What would become of her mother if she died in the attack?

"My mother would not live," she says, "because everyone in the family will blame her because she sent me [here]. She wanted me to reach my dreams."

Doug Ford had been premier of Ontario for less than a month when he fulfilled a campaign promise in mid-July. Ford rolled back an updated sex ed curriculum that had been hailed as more inclusive. As it was just a few weeks into summer, the response was delayed.

“My friend called me and he was like, ‘Hey no one's doing a protest, we should do a protest,’” says Rayne Fisher-Quann, 17. “And then I was like ‘OK, sure, that sounds great.’”

Feroza Mushtari shudders as she remembers when the Taliban took power in Afghanistan.

She was a teenager living in Kabul when the group gained control there in 1996. One day out of the blue, her parents told her she must wear a burqa — a long, loose garment that conceals the shape of women's bodies. They also told her she could no longer go to school. The Taliban had banned education for girls.

C.J. Chivers' new book grapples with the human toll of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In "In The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq," the New York Times journalist and former Marine infantry officer tells the story of six combatants, including Spc. Robert Soto, a soldier who initially impressed Chivers with his optimism.

After Hurricane Maria cause widespread destruction in the Caribbean last September, colleges and universities from New York to Florida offered free or discounted tuition to Puerto Rican students whose home institutions were closed after the storm.

One of the first students to take advantage of the offer was Rosamari Palerm, who enrolled at Miami’s St. Thomas University at the end of September and moved into her new dorm room just a few days later.

It’s 5 a.m. and light is just beginning to show behind the brown desert hills that surround the Yakima Valley. Patricia and Javier just arrived to work at Sonrise Orchards. They’re placing their ladders among the thick green leaves of the cherry trees. 

In Michigan, the North American Free Trade Agreement has been a source of controversy for more than 25 years. Many argue that NAFTA has allowed American car companies to compete in a hyper-competitive global market. Others say the trade deal, which took effect in 1994, bled auto jobs from the US to Mexico.

There’s a dimly lit convenience store in the mountains of western Puerto Rico where an 82-year-old man sits behind the counter ringing up snacks and sodas.

Luis Ruiz, who has watery blue eyes and a white beard, wishes he were somewhere else: outside in the sun, tending the coffee plants he farmed for decades.

“I’ve been here for 55 years. But now I can’t continue because of Maria,” Ruiz said. “I lost everything: the coffee, bananas, the oranges. I lost everything.”

Siberian war games send a signal to the West

Aug 31, 2018

It was a hot September day. We were dug in to a potato field on the edge of a village somewhere in West Germany, waiting for the next attack.  

I distinctly remember Corporal Olding wandering over and saying, “I feel like a potato.”   

After two weeks on the exercise — two weeks of being tired, dirty and hungry — it seemed like the funniest thing ever.   

Before Santa Fe High School started its school year in August, school officials fortified the building with new metal detectors and panic buttons in every classroom. That’s because in May, an armed student killed eight classmates and two teachers.

Some parents are calling for even more security at the school near Houston, Texas, but one of the family members of the victims wants a different kind of change.

Joy walks along an overgrown path winding through a village on the rural outskirts of Lagos, Nigeria. She points out a few shops that have closed and a big house on an overgrown plot owned by somebody who has left for a job overseas. The neighborhood landmarks serve as constant reminders of the problem Joy grapples with daily: There is no work here. And she wants out.

“See I’m where I’m living?” she asked, sounding exasperated. “I can’t cope. I can’t cope at all. I don’t like it.”

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