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.

It’s official: The coronavirus outbreak is now a pandemic. That was declared Wednesday afternoon by the chief of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. 

An epidemic is a regional outbreak of illness. A pandemic is the worldwide spread of disease affecting large numbers of people.

“‘Pandemic' is not a word to use lightly or carelessly," he said. "It's a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear."

Ghebreyesus said today's reclassification does not change what countries or the WHO should do in response to the outbreak. 

Shops and restaurants closed, hundreds of flights were canceled, and streets emptied across Italy Tuesday, the first day of an unprecedented nationwide lockdown imposed to slow Europe's worst outbreak of coronavirus.

Just hours after the dramatic new restrictions came into force, health authorities announced the death toll had jumped by 168 to 631, the largest rise in absolute numbers since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.

Lockdown life in the time of coronavirus can be tough, but 10-year-old Francine Hou's first moments post-lockdown were overwhelming. After spending nearly six weeks indoors in China, she finally stepped outside of a tiny apartment with her parents and little brother. 

“I felt like I was going to throw up,” she said. 

It was sensory overload after being cooped up inside. The smell of car exhaust hit Francine hard, she said. After a while, she asked to return to the apartment. 

On June 28, 2009, the night of the coup in Honduras, Vicky Hernández, a trans rights activist, went to work with her friends — other trans sex workers — without knowing about a military-imposed curfew. 

According to Hernández’s friends, the troops in the town of San Pedro Sula threatened and chased the sex workers. Hernández disappeared. She was later found dead due to gunshot wounds to her head. 

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

The entire population of Italy — some 60 million people — is now on lockdown in an effort to control the novel coronavirus outbreak. The move is unprecedented in a democracy and could spark similar approaches elsewhere.

When Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora attended a Christmas concert at the American University in Beirut, he got a nasty surprise.

As Siniora waited for the show to start, dozens of concertgoers stood up chanting “revolution, revolution.” 

At first, Siniora and his entourage stayed put, ignoring the crowd. But soon, almost everyone in the concert hall was on their feet, chanting or filming with their phones.

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

The morning after Colombia’s Constitutional Court upheld a restrictive abortion law this week, two Congress members from opposing parties phoned into one of the country’s most popular radio shows and debated the decision.

Rep. Juanita Goebertus, a member of the left-leaning Green Alliance party, favored expanding women’s access to abortion procedures, while Sen. Jhon Milton Rodríguez, a member of the evangelical Free and Just Colombia party, favored further restricting access.

This is a moment of both fear and hope for Afghan women — and an urgent time for the world to support their hard-won rights. The Feb. 29 deal between the US and the Taliban could pave the way for a peace that Afghans desperately seek. But there are huge risks for women’s rights in this process. 

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

In late February, India saw its worst brutality against Muslims in years. Indian police officers have been accused of standing by while Muslims were beaten and killed. It’s difficult to get the police perspective on the violence — or what it’s like to be an Indian police officer, in general.

“Though I have my own views, I can’t criticize [the] government. I’m bound by rules.”

D. Roopa Moudgil, inspector-general of police railways

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers are trying to enter Greece after Ankara said last week it would no longer uphold a 2016 agreement with the European Union to keep refugees in Turkey in return for aid money.

It’s a rainy evening in East London and a group of people with their faces daubed in bizarre make-up is making their way silently through the neighborhood’s busy streets. Nobody speaks although many commuters and tourists stare. This is The Dazzle Club. 

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Refugees in Turkey headed toward European frontiers on Friday after an official said the borders had been thrown open, a response to the escalating war in Syria. 

Ankara indicated it will no longer prevent refugees from going to Europe in protest of what it sees as Western inaction, a move that would reverse a 2016 pledge to the EU. Greece and Bulgaria reacted by tightening their borders.

In Istanbul on Friday, refugees from Syria clamored to board buses to Bulgaria. Other migrants are heading for the Greek islands, and hope to enter the European Union by boat.

Top of The World  — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

"The more the waste, the better the taste." That's the motto of a café in India. Not just any café. The Garbage Café. Here's the concept: Bring in a kilogram of plastic trash — about two pounds worth — and you get a free hot meal.

The café, which opened in October 2019 in the small city of Ambikapur, India, comes at a time when India still generates 57,320,188 pounds of plastic waste every day, according to government data. The waste is often dumped in streets, drains and landfills.

For over a decade, Mohammad has worked alongside US troops in his home country of Afghanistan working as an interpreter and, most recently, helping the US train Afghan security forces. For over a decade, he has waited for the US to grant him a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV). 

The coronavirus continues to spread, and US officials want Americans to be prepared and take precautions. One big question we keep hearing from listeners: Is it okay for me to travel?

Several governments around the world have closed their borders or halted air travel to regions with coronavirus outbreaks.

The tension between travel, disease and politics is something Amy Pope knows well. She served as deputy Homeland Security adviser to the White House during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. 

Analysis: Facebook is undermining democracy

Feb 25, 2020

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke at the Munich Security Conference last month, an annual gathering where elites and officials discuss the challenges their nations face. Putin once famously trashed the post-Cold War Western order at the conference; Zuckerberg was there to tell attendees that his platform wasn’t undermining democracy. His actions tell a different story. 

The young woman from Guatemala never thought she would be locked up so long.

“It’s been one year and one month,” Vicente said. She no longer counts the days — only the months.

In 2018, Vicente fled a physically abusive partner in rural Guatemala. One night, when his threats turned deadly, she said, she escaped in the early morning. She put her three kids in her sister’s care and headed north. The plan, she said, was to reunite with her children,—eventually—in the United States.

The epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak is China, but officials in South Korea, Iran and Ukraine are also trying to manage the illness in their countries.

In South Korea, at least 204 cases are documented. Iran has at least 18 cases. There are no cases in Ukraine, but a group of Ukrainians returned from China, and as they were being bused to a quarantine center, their caravan was attacked. The Ukrainian president and health minister are trying to quell the fears of Ukrainians who don't want the virus to spread there.

With Super Tuesday two weeks away, Democratic presidential candidates are scrambling to convince people to come out and vote on one of the most important days of the primary season. A third of all delegates will be allocated after contests Tuesday, March 3, in 16 states — including delegate-rich states such as California and Texas. 

And in Texas, the Latino vote — which could be hugely influential — is up for grabs. 

For the first time, the environment rivals the economy as the top voter issue in the US, according to new data from the Pew Research Center. Even so, environmental concerns are not racking up many minutes in the Democratic presidential debates. 

The topic arose once at a debate in December when it was raised by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is also a presidential hopeful.  

Foreign policy heavyweights gathered in Munich over the weekend for the annual global security conference.

Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier lobbed direct criticism at the Trump administration's America first mantra, saying it was badly hurting US-European relations.

"'Great again' — even at the expense of neighbors and partners," quipped Steinmeier, who accused the US, China and Russia of making the world more dangerous by stoking mistrust and insecurity. 

Two attacks by convicted terrorists in a little more than two months in London have put the British government under pressure to tighten laws around early release from prison. 

Most of the new diseases we humans have faced in the past several decades have come from animals.

HIV. Avian flu. Ebola. SARS. And now the new coronavirus, which scientists say likely came from an animal, possibly a bat, at a market where live animals are butchered in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The more we come into contact with wild animals, the more we risk a so-called disease “spillover” from animals to humans.

The Church of England is trying to come to terms with its long history of racism. This week, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the church's most senior bishop, said he was "personally sorry and ashamed" and called the church "deeply, institutionally racist." 

So officials at the Church of England approved a motion Tuesday to formally apologize for discrimination against the Windrush generation, the name given to people who relocated to the United Kingdom from Caribbean countries after World War II. 

Twenty-one years ago this month, Hugo Chávez, a newcomer politician, took office in a country that stood out in the region due to its unusually long uninterrupted democratic tradition. He promised to change the country forever. He definitely succeeded, but not for the better.