The World | KERA News

The World

Weekdays at 2 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM
  • Hosted by Marco Werman

The World is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. It airs at 2 p.m. weekdays on KERA 90.1 FM. 

Scroll down to read and listen to stories featured on The World.

For the past three years, Pastor Liliana Da Valle has watched the small congregation of Grace Baptist Church in downtown San Jose become increasingly diverse.

“A woman with an accent is preaching and all of a sudden people know, ‘If this is a church where they have a pastor with an accent, then they will receive me,’” says Da Valle, who immigrated from Argentina to the US 36 years ago.

Not only has her church attracted more Latinos, it has also drawn Asians, many of them students at nearby San Jose State University.

Composer Sawan Dutta had scored the music for two Bollywood movies. After meetings with movie executives, long nights in the studio, these two projects would be her most high-profile work yet. And then, disaster. One film lost distribution. The other lost its mega-star talent.

The scores? Left unheard, abandoned on a hard drive.

But Dutta turned her frustration into The Metronome Song Vlog, India’s longest-running song videoblog, or vlog. Now she’s a viral internet sensation.

Nicaragua is living an Orwellian nightmare.

Over the past three months, Daniel Ortega's government of "reconciliation and national unity" has killed more than 300 people, injured thousands and abducted and disappeared hundreds more. Sandinista "death caravans" of hooded police and government paramilitaries raid towns like hordes of invading Huns, firing battlefield weapons at unarmed protesters, dragging people from their homes, torching buildings and leaving dead bodies in the street.

In recent years, the model for US recycling has been to send it overseas to China. China gets a raw material worth money; the US gets rid of its rubbish. 

But since the start of this year, China has been refusing to take contaminated recycling, forcing communities across the US, like Lynn, Massachusetts, to quickly take action.

At New Mexico's state capitol Monday, state legislators heard, for the first time, testimony from people who have been detained inside the two for-profit immigration detention centers in the state. What they heard were memories of trauma and allegations of abuse — and calls to end privately-run detention in New Mexico for good.

Giulnara Asanova and her husband remember when they decided to leave Crimea. 

"We sat down at the table and decided what to do," she says, speaking Russian through a translator. "We decided to save our children, save our grandchildren. We saw the tanks, we saw weapons and military.” 

That was in 2014.

Giulnara Asanova and her husband remember when they decided to leave Crimea. 

"We sat down at the table and decided what to do," she says, speaking Russian through a translator. "We decided to save our children, save our grandchildren. We saw the tanks, we saw weapons and military.” 

That was in 2014.

The horror of imagining a dozen Thai boys trapped inside that frigid cavern chamber was followed — in the minds of some parents — by a sense of indignation.

The thirteenth soul wasting away in the cave was an adult: their 25-year-old football coach. Might he face charges, so the thinking goes, for joining and thus condoning this trek — especially since the cavernous tunnels were marked with warning signs?

In the video, a woman with long wavy hair sits by a window, her profile in shadows. Her name is Lorena and she has a message for the governor of Pennsylvania: “Shut down the Berks Detention Center.” She said she spent 663 days there with her then 3-year-old son and was released in 2017 while seeking asylum.

The video is part of the project “Familias Separadas” created by artist Michelle Angela Ortiz to amplify the voices of asylum-seeking families in detention.

It took a long time for Andrea Valobra to realize something basic about her culture. She grew up knowing that women were expected to do certain duties that men didn’t have to do, like cleaning and cooking. But she didn’t understand the full extent of the machismo culture until she was in her teens.

Her first boyfriend raped her. Another hit and choked her.

She says her family explained it away.

"'He likes you, so he will rape you,'" she says. "'He loves you too much and that is why he has to control your phone.'"

We've heard so much about the baby Trump blimp at the anti-Trump protests in London today. Satirizing the balloon is almost too easy.

But satirists in Europe and around the world have had more than just balloons to work with. There were the explosive comments about the NATO alliance, the criticism of UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit strategy. And obviously there's plenty of room for satirising the relationship between President Donald Trump and Russia.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin prepares for his first one-on-one summit with President Donald Trump in Helsinki next week, Russian political observers say Kremlin expectations are low but for one key deliverable: Russia’s symbolic return from international isolation to a global powerbroker America needs to negotiate with once more. 

Ahead of the summit, Trump — currently amid a contentious week of meetings with traditional US allies in Brussels and London — has suggested his talks with the Russian leader “may be the easiest of them all.”

Bacita De La Rosa says no one in Tacloban was prepared for Typhoon Haiyan’s intensity as it bore down on this coastal Philippine city in November 2013.

She recalls how her family thought they’d be safe inside their two-story home of concrete and corrugated steel that overlooks Anibong Bay. But the Category 5 storm, known locally as Yolanda, produced sustained wind speeds up to 195 mph that tore the roof off their hillside home.

Just how big of a waste problem are plastic straws?

Consider this: Each year, the Ocean Conservancy organizes its International Coastal Cleanup day. “In 2017, we collected over 600,000 straws off the beach,” says Emily Woglom, executive vice president with the Ocean Conservancy.

A big problem is that straws aren’t really recyclable.

When a 14-year-old Paraguayan girl died in childbirth in March, people flooded the streets.

In small English towns like Ramsgate, the job of mayor is mostly a ceremonial one. The leader is not supposed to be mucking about in politics. 

But Trevor Shonk, mayor of the town about 80 miles east of London, could not help himself. “Good luck to Trump” was one of the first things he told me over the phone.  

Mayor Shonk graciously welcomed me to Ramsgate on short notice, showed me around town and gave me advice on the best pubs to catch the England-Croatia soccer match on Wednesday night.  

It’s been two months now since the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem. The embassy opened May 14 to official fanfare while dozens died the same day along the Israel-Gaza border. More than 130 have been killed since protests began on March 30 and have continued for months.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy had a hand in some of the most important environmental law cases in recent history.

“He’s been on the court just over 30 years and he’s been in the majority in every single environmental case but one. You don’t win without Kennedy,” Harvard law professor Richard Lazarus told The Atlantic after Kennedy’s retirement.

The government agency that handles US citizenship applications has been using newly digitized fingerprints to investigate cases of fraud since the beginning of 2017. So far, one person’s citizenship has been revoked.

Davinder Singh came to the US on a fall day in 1991.

Sandy González-García looked like any other 8-year-old Friday, blowing out the candles on a Frozen-themed birthday cake.

You’d never suspect she spent her real birthday in a shelter on the other side of the country with other kids deemed unaccompanied minors by the government. Many of them, like her, were separated from their parents by the US government.

During spring negotiations at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, the US delegation threatened Ecuador and other countries with punitive trade measures if they didn't water down language in a resolution to "protect, promote and support breastfeeding," The New York Times reported

The US delegation, pressured by infant formula manufacturers, ultimately failed when Russia instead introduced the measure after more than a dozen other countries backed off. 

Eighteen years ago, veteran Associated Press photographer Alan Díaz won a Pulitzer Prize for an image that marked a change in what it means to be Cuban American. He captured the moment a 6-year-old Cuban boy, Elián González, was forcibly taken from his Miami relatives to be reunited with his father in Cuba.

That iconic photo marked a new era in Cuban American life, one that has been in constant transition ever since.

Global Hit - Miguel Zenon

Jul 9, 2018

The World's Adele Sire reports on a Puerto Rican sax player who shows his versatile in chops in all repertoires.


From PRI's The World ©2017 PRI

South Korean artist Goh Hong-seok’s installation pieces are as intricate as they are enormous.

One of his works —  a serpentine green dragon wrapped around a white unicorn — takes up an entire exhibition room. At first glance, another appears to be a 9-foot-high flower, but is, in fact, the depiction of the inner vortex of a typhoon.

It’s less than an hour until showtime and director Andrew Whyment is perched in a chair, giving final notes to the cast of the play “Wherever I Lay My Head.”

The 18 young actors stand around a small, makeshift stage in an auditorium in London’s City Hall. Behind them, a wall of glass windows rises several stories high, opening out towards the Thames and London’s skyscrapers.

More than a decade ago, the founding members of A2VT, an Afropop band based in Burlington, Vermont, arrived in the United States as refugees. And when it came time to choose a group name, they wanted it to reflect their journey: from Africa to Vermont. 

Lead singer Said Bulle goes by the moniker "Jilib." He grew up in Somalia and moved with his family to a Kenyan refugee camp at age 10. Five years later, a family in Burlington, Vermont, offered to sponsor him. 

While New Yorkers were organizing a weekend protest across the Brooklyn Bridge against family separations at the southern border, about 160 congregants of East End Temple in Gramercy Park, Lower Manhattan, gathered on Wednesday, June 27, to hear about a different style of activism.

Hundreds of Yemenis fleeing the war and humanitarian crisis back home have made their way to an unlikely destination in northeast Asia. The popular tourist destination of Jeju Island sits off the southern coast of South Korea. It’s more than 5,000 miles from the Arabian peninsula, but a combination of factors have led these war refugees to seek safety there. Se-woong Koo has been following the story from the South Korean capital, Seoul.

On July 4, millions of Americans celebrate Independence Day by watching fireworks synced to patriotic and bombastic music. But this year, a favorite from the fireworks soundtrack may have ironic overtones.

Tchaikovsky’s "1812 Overture" tells a very specific story about Russia’s defeat of Napoleon’s invading army.

Outside of a maternity ward, a young man and woman are bent over a phone. A few minutes ago, a nurse beckoned them over and ushered them in through a closed door. They came back out smiling. On the phone is the photo of a newborn baby girl. She’s in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; these are her parents in the waiting area, and her birth mother, or gestational carrier, is in the ward, getting some much-needed sleep.

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