The World

Monday - Friday 3 p.m.
  • Hosted by Marco Werman
  • Local Host Mark Wozniak

Each weekday, host Marco Werman and his team of producers bring you the world's most interesting stories in an hour of radio that reminds us just how small our planet really is. The World is heard on over 300 stations across North America.

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Iceland's new prime minister is a feminist and environmentalist who is among the youngest leaders in the world. She has a degree in literature with a special interest in Icelandic crime novels. She appeared in a music video 20 years ago with an Icelandic band, Bang Gang. And she's considered Iceland's most trusted politician by numerous polls.

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Benoit Tessier/Reuters 

Iceland's new prime minister is a feminist and environmentalist who is among the youngest leaders in the world. She has a degree in literature with a special interest in Icelandic crime novels. She appeared in a music video 20 years ago with an Icelandic band, Bang Gang. And she's considered Iceland's most trusted politician by numerous polls.

Iceland's new prime minister is a feminist and environmentalist who is among the youngest leaders in the world. She has a degree in literature with a special interest in Icelandic crime novels. She appeared in a music video 20 years ago with an Icelandic band, Bang Gang. And she's considered Iceland's most trusted politician by numerous polls.

Here's a fantasy: A world where you never had to wait in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Save for the driving test, you could do almost everything online — from changing your address to renewing your license.

Other things in life — like voting and going to the doctor — would work just as efficiently. Any doctor you'd visit would already have access to your digitally stored medical records, and you’d never have to fill out one of those medical history forms in the waiting room.

Telmary Díaz is a Cuban rapper in the US right now. She's on a very short tour, and you would think that as a musician with dates lined up months in advance, she would have had an easy time getting here.

That wasn't the case. It was a challenge to get here. Some of her band members couldn't get their visas in time, in part because the US Embassy in Havana is partially closed.

More than 100,000 tons of rubber tires are disposed of every year in Argentina. The majority of them are burned, contributing to the country’s already huge air pollution problem. So, when Alejandro Malgor and two of his friends, Ezequiel Gatti and Nazareno El Hom, realized they wanted to start a business, they decided to focus on tackling the problem — and make shoes from the discarded tire scraps.

As a young adult, Reem Kassis left her Palestinian family behind in Jerusalem. She pursued her education and her dreams in business overseas, including in the US.

But the smell of home cooking knows no boundaries. And now Reem Kassis has written a book, "The Palestinian Table," that's as much a memoir as a collection of recipes.

This piece of jewelry is actually an alarm

Nov 23, 2017

According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, one in every six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape at some point in her lifetime. 

Yasmine Mustafa felt compelled to do something about this, so she created Athena — a bluetooth-enabled alarm that resembles a piece of jewelry. 

"It is worn as a clip, magnetic so it can be activated by both hands," unlike pepper sprays and tasers, which Mustafa says can be cumbersome. "You still have to pull it out of your pocket or your purse for them to be useful." 

London has a unique vigil for its forgotten dead

Nov 21, 2017

A few minutes from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, a unique ceremony takes place every month. The Crossbones Vigil follows no particular religion and commemorates no powerful or famous people.

And that's what makes it so special. The vigil is for London's outcasts.

During a recent vigil, the road is closed to traffic soon after rush hour, while a few dozen people begin to gather. Maggie has come to remember her son. "He was 26 years of age, and he got shot and killed in the Netherlands," she says. She needs Crossbones at this time.

As the 60-day mark since Hurricane Maria destroyed infrastructure and buildings in Puerto Rico approaches, there's a mix of hope and dread about economic recovery for businesses on the island. Business owners have to cope with the loss of revenue, employees, customers and power.

The story of recovery after Hurricane Maria is mixed. While the local government touted that power output had reached 50 percent of capacity, distribution is another story.

US President Donald Trump promised last month he'd discuss with Chinese President Xi Jinping how to stop the “flood of cheap and deadly” fentanyl “manufactured in China." 

Standing alongside Xi on Thursday during a press conference after the two leaders wrapped up formal talks in Beijing, Trump said he and the Chinese president would focus “very strongly” on curbing the drug trade and stopping “the lethal flow of poisonous drugs into our countries and into our communities."

After every mass shooting — like the one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday — the satirical news website The Onion publishes the same article: 'No Way to Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.

But epidemiologist Gary Slutkin says there is a way. 

Remember the Panama Papers — that huge trove of more than 11 million documents leaked in 2015 detailing financial data on more than 200,000 offshore entities? 

Now, there's a sequel.

It's called the Paradise Papers, and it's brought to you via the same two German journalists who received the earlier data dump. 

"Here we are again with another leak and new revelations," says Süddeutsche Zeitung correspondent Frederik Obermaier, one of the two reporters who received the Paradise Papers from an anonymous source.

Moscow wags the dog on Manafort

Nov 1, 2017

With the indictment of three Trump campaign officials — including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort — injecting new drama into special council Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the US elections, the Kremlin took a different view of events: The news fell just short of a full exoneration. 

Related: Paul Manafort and two other former Trump aides are charged in Russia investigation

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Alejandro Alvarez/Reuters

A few weeks after the catastrophic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, I felt a desperate need to connect with others who were similarly grappling with what it means to be American at this particular moment.

Every federal employee knows the rule: You don't keep any valuable item given to you by a foreign government official. When my former boss, Mike Mullen, retired as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his French counterpart brought a thoughtful gift: an 18th century engraving of the British surrender at Yorktown that he and his wife found on a weekend in Normandy.

It, and dozens of other presents Mullen received that day, are property of the United States. Unless Congress expressly approved, or he bought it back at market value, Mullen could not keep any of them.

The Spanish government is threatening to revoke the autonomy of the region of Catalonia, in the northeast of the country. The Catalans, for their part, are threatening to declare independence unilaterally.

But what are the roots of the tensions between the national government in Madrid and the Catalan leaders in Barcelona?

One month ago, on the afternoon of Sept. 19, a massive quake struck Mexico City and surrounding areas. That day, The World's Monica Campbell was in the Boston newsroom, far from her home and family in Mexico City. She watched footage of buildings collapse and waited as death tolls rose.

"I couldn't believe it," she says. "The quake struck 32 years to the day since the massive 1985 quake."

The first wave of university students displaced by Hurricane Maria has arrived to study in the mainland US, taking advantage of tuition discounts offered to Puerto Rican students whose home institutions remain shuttered.

“Coming here was a big relief,” says Rosamari Palerm, 23. She was the first student from Puerto Rico to arrive at St. Thomas University, a private Catholic school in Miami Gardens, Florida with over 5,000 students.

Acid attack victims reverse expectations on the runway

Oct 13, 2017

It's a fashion show to make a difference.

Google is the latest tech company that’s found evidence of Russian-bought ads on its platforms.

Facebook recently shared 3,000 ads purchased by Russian operatives with Congress after finding that they were part of a disinformation campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Twitter has also faced scrutiny.

A fly-along with relief workers in Puerto Rico

Oct 6, 2017

It's day 16 without electricity for most of Puerto Rico.

Two weeks ago, Hurricane Maria hit the island as a Category 4 storm, wiping out the whole power grid. As of Friday, only half of Puerto Rico had safe drinking water.

Related: The federal emergency response in Puerto Rico has been slow, and there's a long way to go

Why I'm pro-secession for anyone who wants it

Oct 4, 2017

As a matter of principle and personal preference, I’m in favor of secession.

Related: Chronicle of a crackdown on Catalonia's independence vote

At least 21 people associated with the US diplomatic corps in Cuba have been suffering from an array of mysterious symptoms ranging from hearing loss and dizziness to concussions and brain swelling.

After months of investigation, the US determined that a secret sonic weapon was to blame.

But Dr. Joseph Pompei, a former researcher and psychoacoustics expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that’s impossible.

Ashley Grey gestures toward the crowd on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC, as hundreds of new students make their way to the main yard. The marching band and cheerleaders pep up the new class with popular school chants. Today is the official pinning ceremony, where alumni, staff and current students officially welcome students by giving them school pins.

“It’s been chaos here in Puerto Rico,” says Ezequiel Rodríguez-Andino, an independent radio producer in the capital, San Juan. The phones have been down, along with most internet service. The roads are blocked, and there are long lines for food, water and fuel, he says. 

“The whole island has been affected,” Rodríguez-Andino says. “Every single town has been affected in some way.” 

Twitter says it won't take down Trump's tweet to North Korea

Sep 26, 2017

Like many diplomatic flare-ups under the Trump administration, this one began with a tweet.

Following weeks of escalating tensions and hostile statements between the US and North Korea, over the weekend, President Donald Trump warned North Korean leaders that they “won’t be around much longer” if they continue to threaten the US.

How Facebook saved a dying mill town

Sep 26, 2017

Everything people post on Facebook actually lives somewhere in real life — like a small town in central Oregon that was once decimated by the loss of manufacturing industries. 

The people of Prineville live deep in a valley surrounded by dense forests. In the 1800s, it was the first place in central Oregon where white settlers drove out Native Americans to start a city.

Steve Forrester’s grandparents got here in 1902. When he was growing up in the 1970s, Prineville was idyllic.   

How the Vietnam War shaped my life and my career

Sep 26, 2017

Vietnam loomed large in my early childhood. Images of choppers and rice fields, guns and body bags, filled the television screen each night. One year, my mother jumped every time the phone rang at an odd hour.

It was 1968, the most deadly year for Americans in Vietnam, and my mom’s youngest brother was stationed within a couple of miles of the demilitarized zone, as an adviser to a South Vietnamese unit. 

Donald Trump is not known for his strong grasp of history. But in controversial unscripted remarks this week, Trump claimed "leftists" were trying to rewrite history by destroying monuments.

“This week it's Robert E. Lee. I notice that Stonewall Jackson is coming down,” he said on Tuesday, referring to the top two generals of the Confederacy in the Civil War. “I wonder,” he continued, “is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after. You really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?"

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