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.

The day Kara Ulmer closed down the refugee resettlement office she led in Akron, Ohio, was one of the hardest days of her life. 

Students and teachers in Québec have returned to school for the first time since a law banned teachers and public employees in positions of “authority” from wearing religious symbols — this means no headscarves, Sikh turbans, Christian crosses or Jewish skullcaps.

The law, which passed in June, is not a complete ban and included a clause that applies the law only to new hires or those who change jobs.

At around 3 a.m. one night in 2017, Bilol, an Uzbek immigrant, heard a knock on his door.

“There were around 25 people,” Bilol said later. They included FBI, immigration authorities and NYPD officers. Even an ambulance arrived.

Related: What it’s like to become a US citizen after a lifetime of statelessness

A 'Pang!' of emotion, Gruff Rhys drops new album

Sep 20, 2019

Gruff Rhys is known for Britain's indie rock band, Super Furry Animals. But the Welsh musician just dropped a groovy new solo album this month titled, "Pang!" 

The album is a collaboration with Muzi, a South African electronic artist and producer who worked with Rhys to put a new spin on his beats. 

Rhys spoke with The World's Carol Hills about the album, and the political issues it references. 

Growing up in an Ethiopian refugee camp, Tecle Gebremichael used to dream of going to school in the United States. 

He finally got that chance in 2012, when he was resettled to the US and landed in Boise, Idaho. Now 29 years old, Gebremichael is a homeowner, student at Boise State University, and petroleum supply specialist for the US Army Reserves. He’s also running for a seat on Boise’s city council. 

Gebremichael, who recently became an American citizen, credits the United States’ refugee resettlement program for allowing him to fulfill his American dream.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Arden introduced a new bill to parliament on Friday that aims to further tighten gun laws, as the country marks six months since the mass shooting in Christchurch that killed 51 Muslim worshippers.

This is New Zealand's second set of gun reforms after weak firearm laws were identified as a key reason why a suspected white supremacist was able to own semi-automatic weapons that he used to kill people gathered at two mosques for Friday prayers on March 15. A mandatory nationwide gun buy-back program was part of the reforms.

A storm system threatening the Bahamas with more heavy downpours and strong winds on Friday hampered the search for some 1,300 people missing in the wake of the worst hurricane in the nation's history and a massive humanitarian operation to help survivors.

The unnamed system, which had the potential of becoming a tropical storm, could drop up to 6 inches of rain through Sunday in some areas that were inundated nearly two weeks ago by Hurricane Dorian, forecasters said.

For many Israelis, this election is all about Bibi

Sep 13, 2019

Israelis are heading back to the polls for the second time this year, and whether they love him, can’t stand him or happen to be indifferent about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this election is all about “Bibi,” as he’s known. 

On Friday, the latest polling numbers found Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and the centrist Kahol Lavan, the “Blue and White” party, locked in a dead heat. Each party was projected to win 32 seats in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. 

Canada’s campaign for federal parliamentary elections officially began Wednesday. Voting will take place on Oct. 21 in what is expected to be a close contest between the parties led by incumbent Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. 

How disease is used to deny entry at US borders

Sep 11, 2019

A Federal Court in San Diego will hear a lawsuit on September 20th brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the issue of family separation at the US-Mexico border.

In Russia's municipal elections on Sunday, President Vladimir Putin's party, United Russia, was dealt a significant blow.

The results were part of a "smart vote" strategy orchestrated by the opposition. At the suggestion of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, many anti-Putin voters decided to vote for anyone other than a candidate from Putin's party, even candidates that voters might otherwise find distasteful.

"This was an experiment, and in those cities and regions where it was implemented for the first time, it worked very very well," Navalny said.

The Indian Space Research Organization is speeding toward history on Friday as its second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, is expected to touch down near the moon’s south pole.

If successful, Chandrayaan-2’s landing site would be the southernmost spot on the moon to be visited by any spacecraft, and make India the fourth country to complete a landing on the moon. 

One month after crackdown, protests continue in Kashmir

Sep 5, 2019

A month after India withdrew contested Kashmir's autonomy, locked it down with thousands of additional troops and made mass arrests, residents are resisting attempts by authorities to show some signs of normalcy returning in the Muslim-majority valley.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked special rights for Jammu and Kashmir state on Aug. 5, striking down long-standing constitutional provisions for the Himalayan region, which is also claimed by neighboring Pakistan.

On a recent Wednesday, Noam Shuster-Eliassi strolled around the tiny village in Israel where she grew up, Neve Shalom or "Oasis of Peace," wishing goodbye to her neighbors. The Israeli comedian was heading to Harvard University in just a few days for a fellowship at the Divinity School. There, she will be writing an hourlong comedy show in Hebrew, English and Arabic. She is calling it, “Coexistence My Ass.”

The four strangers didn't speak to each other as they unloaded their luggage from a taxi in the early morning August light at the end of a road in rural Champlain, New York. 

“You speak English?” a bearded Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer a few yards away asked to nods from three men. And to the woman: “Madame, parlez-vous français?”

Then, he began to reel off a short speech he and his colleagues repeat many times a day whenever someone arrives at the dead end of Roxham Road to cross into Quebec, Canada. 

Oct. 1 will mark 70 years since Chairman Mao Zedong declared victory over his anti-communist enemies and founded the modern Chinese nation.

His rivals, a US-backed army known as the Kuomintang (KMT), mostly fled seaward. They landed in Taiwan, where their successors still run the island republic — or in Beijing’s view, a renegade province. Others escaped to Hong Kong.

Weak rainfall is unlikely to extinguish a record number of fires raging in Brazil's Amazon anytime soon, with pockets of precipitation through Sept. 10 expected to bring only isolated relief, according to weather data and two experts.

The world's largest tropical rainforest is being ravaged as the number of blazes recorded across the Brazilian Amazon has risen 79% this year through Aug. 25, according to the country's space research agency.

The Ducasse d'Ath begins Friday. It's a centuries-old festival featuring large puppets, giants and floats that parade through the streets of Ath, a village of 30,000 in the French-speaking region of Wallonia in Belgium. The exact purpose of the celebration has changed over time, but it celebrates the biblical story about David's triumph over Goliath. 

Amid growing global condemnation, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said on Friday he may mobilize the army to help combat a record number of fires sweeping through the Amazon rainforest.

The Trump administration said it was "deeply concerned" about the wildfires and European leaders ratcheted up criticism of Brazil's handling of the crisis, which now looks set to be discussed at a summit of G7 leaders in France this weekend.

The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled a rule that allows officials to detain migrant families indefinitely while judges consider whether to grant them asylum in the United States, abolishing a previous 20-day limit. 

The rule, which is certain to draw a legal challenge, would replace a 1997 court settlement that limits the amount of time US immigration authorities can detain migrant children. That agreement is generally interpreted as meaning families must be released within 20 days.

For the first time, scientists have found a treatment for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis — a disease that, so far, was near-impossible to cure. In a groundbreaking development, the results show that the drugs will save most patients’ lives in a few months.

Tuberculosis is the deadliest infectious disease in the world, killing about 1.6 million people globally in 2017, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and drug-resistant strains make the disease even harder to contain.

Why are so many languages spoken in some places and so few in others?

Aug 15, 2019

People across the world describe their thoughts and emotions, share experiences and spread ideas through the use of thousands of distinct languages. These languages form a fundamental part of our humanity. They determine whom we communicate with and how we express ourselves.

On Monday, US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced changes to the application of the “likely to become a public charge,” or LPC, clause that would make it more difficult for legal immigrants who seek public assistance to qualify for permanent residence and citizenship.

Trying to justify the new rule, acting USCIS director Ken Cuccinelli said that the United States should only admit immigrants like his Irish and Italian ancestors who “came up from their bootstraps.”

A few months ago, Quinn Nystrom responded to a post on Facebook and decided to try something she had never done before: join a caravan to Canada. The reason she left her home in central Minnesota on the morning of May 3 for a five-hour drive north was to buy insulin from a pharmacy across the border in Fort Frances, Ontario.

“It kills you, the waiting,” a 26-year-old architect said after two weeks in hiding amid Turkey’s crackdown on undocumented Syrian refugees. 

He asked that his name not be used to protect his safety — he's Syrian and has lived in Istanbul illegally ever since his student residency card expired.

St. Sucia is not your typical saint. From immigration and work-life balance to dating and sex, nothing is too taboo for this rebel to tackle. 

But St. Sucia doesn't live in a chapel or a cathedral. She is the creation of San Antonio-based Latinx artist and illustrator Isabel Ann Castro.

“I told them that they can’t be asking the Virgin or Jesus Christ to help them out with their cochina problems. They needed a saint to understand. A saint that was a ‘dirty girl’ too.”

Isabel Ann Castro, artist

There has been no let-up in violence in Afghanistan even though the Taliban and the United States appear close to a pact for US troops to withdraw in exchange for a Taliban promise that Afghanistan will not be used as a base for international terrorism.

This week, US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad wrapped up the latest round of meetings with the Taliban in Doha in the Gulf state of Qatar. Khalilzad was optimistic about the talks and tweeted that they have "made excellent progress."

Kadiatou* was 14 when she fled her uncle’s home in Guinea, West Africa. She knew she had to leave when he began making arrangements for her to marry an older man.

Kadiatou, whose parents and younger sister had died, turned to a school friend for help. Her friend gave her a little money, and one day, she packed some belongings and began the long trek across Mali through Mauritania, Algeria and Libya before boarding a boat to Italy. 

It's been presented as a terrifying, dystopian nightmare straight out of science fiction: a system that would allow the Chinese government to surveil all citizens and assign them a score that would impact all aspects of their lives. It sounds frightening. But, as it turns out, much of the Western media narrative on China's social credit system has been outright false.

As part of a collaboration between Wired magazine and The World, we take a look at what the system actually looks like, and how it really works.

When you scroll through social media feeds in Turkey today, you’ll likely come across posts sowing doubt and confusion about vaccines: “They’re injecting children with the genes of pigs and monkeys with vaccines!” “The vaccines that America and other governments sell to Turkey are not the same as the ones they use themselves.” “The children that get vaccinated

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