The World

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  • Hosted by Marco Werman

The World brings international stories home to America. Each weekday, host Marco Werman guides listeners through major issues and stories, linking global events directly to the American agenda.

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The idea that the ocean can run out of fish might seem implausible. Yet if you ask Jesús Enrique León Lara, that’s exactly what has been happening over the last decade in his tiny patch of paradise, a village called Agua Verde in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.

“We lived off what we caught, from what the ocean gave us,” León said. “There was so much fish, so many types of fish. But now it’s not like that. There’s a lot less fish.”

What ever happened to Steve Bannon?

Bannon was the chief executive officer of the Trump campaign in its final months and then chief strategist at the White House for seven months.

He's seen by many on the left as perhaps the main architect of the identity politics of the Trump administration. But Bannon is also seen by many of his supporters as the champion of the "little guy."

How to get beyond a tourist fantasy of Singapore

Aug 16, 2018

Pierre Png never dreamed of being in a Hollywood movie. You could say that Hollywood came to Singapore to find him.

The actor plays Michael Teo in “Crazy Rich Asians,” an adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s novel of the same name. He has been acting in the Singaporean television industry for over 20 years. It wasn’t until director Jon M. Chu went looking for actors from Singapore that Png found himself cast in one of the most anticipated Hollywood movies of the summer.

Like many aspiring actors, Shuhei Kinoshita works as a server at a restaurant.

One night, he took a quick break and saw an email from Warner Brothers asking if he’d be available to play a small part in the film “Crazy Rich Asians.” They had gotten his contact information from an audition video he had posted to YouTube months earlier.

“It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t register in your mind when you first read it,” says Kinoshita, who’s based in New York. “I was like, ‘Is this really happening? Is this real?’”

Cheryl Narumi Naruse remembers watching the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” in a theater in Singapore in 2003. There’s a scene where Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) dives into the ocean to save Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) from drowning. Once she’s back on the ship, Jack Sparrow rips off her corset with a knife so she can cough out water and breathe again.

One of the soldiers says: “I would never have thought of that.”

Jack Sparrow responds: “Clearly, you’ve never been to Singapore.”

The Argentine Senate voted against a bill to legalize abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy on Thursday, even after the reform passed through the Argentine House and opinion polls showed that it had strong public support.

It’s an overcast summer day at the Normandy American Cemetery. Taps plays as a flag-draped casket is carried to a freshly dug grave. A small group gathers to bury a fallen soldier.

For decades, the remains of this sailor were labeled only as Unknown X-9352. Today, he has his name again: Julius “Henry” Pieper.

Henry is finally getting a proper burial. It’s 74 years after his death, on the exact day his Naval ship was sunk by a German mine during World War II D-Day operations.

Back in the 1970s, long-distance phone calls were expensive. So the Guinto family, separated by the Pacific Ocean, used cassette tapes to stay connected.

In the Philippines, Glady Lee remembers her grandparents holding out a tape recorder to say a message to her parents living in San Francisco.

“‘Glady, come here. It's time for you to say hi to your mom and your dad. Tell them what it's like here. Do you want them to bring you anything from the States?'" Lee remembers.

On a Sunday night, Jerry Pinksen and his girlfriend Danielle Kane took a friend out for a birthday dinner. They went to the Danforth, a hip area in Toronto with lots of bars and restaurants.

“And we were out on the patio, and all of a sudden we heard what we thought were gunshots,” Pinksen says. “And we started talking about the recent gun violence that’s been in the city and stuff like that.”

That’s when the restaurant waiters came over and hustled them inside.

Many people in the United States have reacted to the separation of families at the border with sadness, protests, donations and a lawsuit against the federal government. But for some, the story feels especially personal, and familiar.

At least 30 children were among the people killed Thursday when their bus was struck by a missile fired from a warplane in northern Yemen. While authorities vow to investigate, Yemenis are drawing their own conclusions.

The bus, parked at a busy market in Saada in northern Yemen, was filled with boys returning to school following a picnic outing. Yemeni social media lit up with reports of civilian deaths.

On a hot August morning, tour guide Carsten Dedert leads a group of tourists to the entrance of a German anti-aircraft fortress known as a Flak Tower. When this building stood intact during World War II, each of its four towers was mounted with a 27-ton gun to shoot down Allied aircraft. Civilians also used the building as a shelter during air raids.

“This is the main reason the ceiling above your head was built quite thick,” Dedert tells visitors. “Nearly 12 feet.”

For the last several weeks, headlines have been dominated by hurricanes and floods, causing devastation from India and Nepal to the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma is just the latest in a ferocious season of natural disasters.

With long-term recovery in mind, I partnered with the BBC World Service to produce "Seeking Refuge in Houston," which focused on Houston and what happens in the aftermath of a terrible storm.

A new symbol of women’s rights is turning up at protests from Latin America to the British Isles and across the US. The scarlet cloak and white bonnet outfit from “The Handmaid’s Tale” is being worn by women rallying for abortion rights and fighting against policies and politicians seeking to restrict those rights.

President Donald Trump sent off a barrage of tweets this weekend, questioning, among other things, the Russia collusion investigation and the intelligence of Lebron James. In other words, it was a typical weekend. But lost in the mix were two tweets about economics.

Trump said his tariffs will allow us to pay down “large amounts” of the $21 trillion debt. Is that possible? Could tariffs raise enough revenue to substantially reduce the debt?

Why taking a sunflower selfie this year might cost you

Aug 8, 2018

If you're a fan of Instagram, you’ve probably seen the shot — a person stands waist deep in sunflowers, with a wistful look on their face. Maybe they include some inspirational words in the caption about enjoying the moment or living in the light.

It’s called a sunflower selfie.

America’s leading coal state looks to the wind

Aug 7, 2018

Wyoming’s economy is dominated by coal, other fossil fuels and mineral extraction. The formula here has worked — residents in Wyoming enjoy among the highest per capita GDP in the nation. So naturally, there’s been some hostility toward new sources of energy that could threaten that.

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.”

On the night of March 20, 1945, a 20-year-old Mexican American soldier named Tony Acevedo lay in the cold barracks of a Nazi concentration camp. 

He pulled out a diary he kept hidden even from his comrades and began to write. 

You’ve probably seen Shigeaki Mori. A photo of him hugging President Barack Obama was published around the world after Obama visited Hiroshima in 2016. 

Mori, now 81, is a Hiroshima survivor.

In a 2016 speech at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Obama said atomic bomb survivors have stories that make war less likely and cruelty less easily accepted. He mentioned Mori that day, highlighting him as “the man who sought out families of Americans killed here because he believed their loss was equal to his own.” 

It's a busy Tuesday evening in the trendy neighborhood of Podil, not far from the city center of Kiev. It's hot out but people are enjoying a breeze as they stroll through a mostly pedestrian-friendly part of the city. A street band plays in the background while people line up to ride a huge Ferris wheel. 

It's an obscure ocean current in a remote part of the world. But what happens to it as the planet and the oceans warm up could affect the lives of people everywhere.

That’s why Bob Pickart, a physical oceanographer from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, traveled to Ísafjörður, Iceland, in the middle of the harsh North Atlantic winter, planning to head into the teeth of some of the worst weather imaginable.

On a quiet street in Worcester, Massachusetts, there’s a little white clapboard church with a steeple called Hadwen Park Congregational Church. Over the past decade, this classic-looking, century-old New England church has become a destination for migrants who were persecuted for their gender or sexual orientation and had to flee their homes. Some find the church online: If you google words like “asylum-seeker,” “LGBT” and  “looking for help,” this church comes up. Others hear about it through word of mouth.

What do the United States, Nigeria, Iraq, Sierra Leone and France all have in common? 

They all have remixed version of Childish Gambino's “This is America” music video specific to their individual countries. The original video is a social and political critique of America that has generated conversation and controversy in the US and, as of publication, more than 350 million views.

President Donald Trump was in southwest Illinois last week touting the re-opening of a steel mill. He credited tariffs for bringing back steel jobs.

But Illinois is also soy country — it’s America’s No. 1 soy-producing state — and soy and corn farmers there are worried about tariffs, retaliatory ones from China.

Speaking in Granite City, Illinois, Trump said American farmers would act like patriots to help him win a trade war.

Herberth Cortez Gaitan waited 16 years for his asylum application to be processed and rejected. It took nine more years for the courts to decide to deport him.

But, as it turned out, four months later, a US federal appeals court found that the government made a mistake.

Here's the next smooth step in Tash Sultana's flow state

Jul 30, 2018

Tash Sultana is making a smooth evolution with her latest single, "Salvation."

With her new track, the Australian native is giving her growing legion of fans a taste from her upcoming full-length album, which is expected to be released in August.

On July 26, 2016, a young girl stepped up to the mic at a meeting of the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education

“Good evening. My name is Sohaila Gebaly,” she said. “I’m going to 6th grade. I love school and science.” 

Gebaly went on to tell board members that the year before, three boys in school started calling her names. When no one stopped them, they hit her, kicked her and pushed her. 

When Esther Hugenholtz stepped forward to give the final sermon at the B’nai Jacob synagogue in Ottumwa, Iowa, in May, she felt a rush of bittersweet emotions.

“It runs against every fiber of my being to sunset a synagogue,” says Hugenholtz, a 40-year-old rabbi in Iowa City. “I felt incredibly honored as a young rabbi to sit by the bedside of this community and pour my love into them, and bless them with this final blessing.”

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