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.

From the outside, there’s nothing special about the building at 606 South Olive Street in downtown Los Angeles. If anything, the 50-year-old office tower, with vacant retail space on the ground floors, is dingy compared to the newer, swankier buildings being built around it. 

Two South Dakota cattle ranchers, two opinions on NAFTA

Jun 19, 2018

This is a story about two ranchers in western South Dakota — Kenny Fox and Eric Jennings.

The two men have both been busy vaccinating and branding their calves, and preparing to get hay ready for winter. Fox is in his 60s; Jennings is in his 50s. Their lives, jobs and outlooks have a lot of overlap. Where the two men differ sharply, however, is on trade.  

“We have people who have lost jobs because of NAFTA,” says Fox.

On the flip side, Jennings says, “We’re very happy with NAFTA. It has opened up our borders tremendously.”

Tell us your thoughts on nuclear security

Jun 19, 2018

This year has been a worrying and, at times, promising one when it comes to nuclear security.

Audio Part One: A divisive national strike in the 1980s stripped the once-dominant UK coal industry of its economic and political influence

Audio Part Two: 30 years after the strike, a ground-breaking climate law meets almost no opposition and leads to an almost total phase-out of coal.

The UK, perhaps more than any other country in the world, was built on coal.

A Dutch brothel where women work for themselves

Jun 15, 2018

From purple and red walls to safes in every room, just about everything at the My Red Light brothel has been designed with input from the women who work there.

It’s also almost completely run by former or current sex workers, something rare in Amsterdam’s world-famous prostitution district. But the most important thing about My Red Light is that its 14 rooms can only be rented by people who have been thoroughly vetted to ensure they are not being trafficked, pimped or exploited.

It has been almost four years since I came to the United States. The year before I arrived, “A Moonlit Night on the Spring River” (a piece of Chinese traditional music) woke me up every weekend.

It was my mom playing a guzheng, a Chinese plucked-string instrument with more than 2,500 years of history.

My mom was always enchanted by the beauty of Chinese traditional music but, for much of her life, she never had the chance to learn an instrument. In 2009, she got a guzheng from a friend and has been playing and performing ever since.

Gaël Faye, rapper and author, readily admits his debut novel is based on his childhood — loosely anyway. Faye grew up in Burundi at a time of turmoil that inspired his book, "Small Country." The book was published to wide acclaim in France two years ago. It was translated into 35 languages and has just been released in English.

As the novel opens, it’s 1992, the eve of a civil war in Burundi and the genocide in Rwanda. For Gabriel, the 10-year-old narrator and main character, a happy childhood is about to be shattered.

Voting for the next president of Colombia looks deceivingly festive outside the Colombian consulate in Coral Gables, a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Colombians usually have notoriously low voter participation rates, both in Colombia and in the US, but this election has seen a rise in turnout. About 53 percent of voters participated in the first round of presidential elections, according to the National Civil Registry.

What reporters couldn't see when they toured a Texas shelter for child migrants

Jun 14, 2018

Life for children inside a privately run facility for migrant children at the Southern border is a cross between living in a detention center and temporary shelter.  

That’s according to people who got a brief glimpse inside. This week, a small group of reporters toured Casa Padre, a converted former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, that houses nearly 1,500 boys ranging in age from 10 to 17 who were caught crossing the border between checkpoints. Most come from Central America.

Back in 2010, President Vladimir Putin helped secure Russia’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup with guarantees the world would see a Russia both open and welcoming.

This week, the Russian leader said his country had made good on that promise. 

“We’ve done everything to ensure our guests — sportsmen, experts and, of course, fans feel at home in Russia,” said Putin in a video address released by the Kremlin. “We have opened our country and our hearts to the world.” 

The Centro Mercado Latino in Phoenix is a giant warehouse filled with vendors peddling everything from cell phone accessories to quinceñera dresses to parakeets. On Sundays, there are lucha libre wrestling matches in the corner.  

But there’s something unexpected tucked next to a kiosk selling alarm systems: a campaign booth promoting a presidential candidate — for Mexico.

The Centro Mercado Latino in Phoenix is a giant warehouse filled with vendors peddling everything from cell phone accessories to quinceñera dresses to parakeets. On Sundays, there are lucha libre wrestling matches in the corner.  

But there’s something unexpected tucked next to a kiosk selling alarm systems: a campaign booth promoting a presidential candidate — for Mexico.

Ireland is not as Catholic as it used to be. It’s a trend that goes back many years, but recent events have been chipping away at the church’s hold on Irish society. 

In 2015, Irish voters chose to legalize same-sex marriage. Last month, they rebuked the church again by voting overwhelmingly to legalize abortion. 

One part of life where the Catholic Church remains very powerful to this day, though, is in education. Around 90 percent of the schools in Ireland, for example, are overseen by the Catholic Church. And that includes many public schools. 

I took an interest in Yemen some years ago and began following events there for The World, our Boston-based radio show. Because the US has taken on a major role in the Yemen civil war — supplying weapons, logistical and intelligence support to one side in the conflict — I've become, from a distance, a conflict journalist. 

Residents of the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah have been anticipating a Saudi-led invasion for weeks. It may have just begun.

Naval warships from the Saudi-led coalition began firing on Hodeidah Tuesday night in what could be the first shots of a battle to drive out Houthi rebels that have held the city since 2014. Early reports indicate that rebels returned fire and that the warships retreated.

For many South Koreans, the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un has brought their divided peninsula one step closer to peace. 

Even though the declaration signed by both leaders at the conclusion of their historic meeting in Singapore was high on lofty goals and short on details about how central issues like complete denuclearization would actually be achieved, the most important outcome is that Trump and Kim are no longer threatening mutual annihilation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision on asylum seekers is 30 pages long.

Advocates and many judges say that the decision is extraordinary, not only because the attorney general took steps to overrule the court's’ prior rulings, but because the decision that victims of certain kinds of violence can qualify for asylum has been previously reviewed over the course of decades.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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!"

On a hilltop in eastern Puerto Rico’s Humacao municipality, a handful of women bustled around pans of sizzling oil and fragrant pots of stew. They spooned heaping piles of rice, chicken, chickpeas, fried plantains and salad into Styrofoam containers. At a serving window, one of the women slid the food to waiting customers.

“This is like therapy for us,” said María Laboy.

In September, Hurricane Maria made landfall just south of this community, called Mariana. The storm blew out the power grid, leaving people without electricity and damaging many homes in the region.

When Maria was six in August 2017, she was separated from her mother, Magdalena, by border patrol agents near El Paso, Texas.

“I didn't understand them,” Maria says. She and her mother speak Akateko, an indigenous Mayan language. “I kept saying, ‘Ummm ummm ummm.’ And then when they took my mom, I got scared and didn’t understand anything.”

Tomoko Shinkai is on the front lines of Japan’s demographic decline. She works for the small city of Hamada, and it’s her job to get people to move there. It’s hard to imagine a better cheerleader for the place. When you ask her what people should know about her hometown, Shinkai says there are too many wonderful things to name. “Come and see it for yourself!” she laughed.

Fasting can be tough for pretty much anyone. But what about the men and women who are fasting during daylight hours and spend all day preparing and serving food to the public?

This question got video producer Aymann Ismail thinking. What's it like to be a Muslim food truck owner during the month of Ramadan? Ismail was born to Egyptian parents and he grew up in New Jersey.

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