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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Russian state media ordered to scale back positive coverage of Donald Trump

Feb 17, 2017

The Kremlin ordered Russian state media on Thursday to stop praising Donald Trump. It was a big change, and an indication that the Putin-Trump "bromance" could be on the rocks.

The thing about my friend Hassan Iftin is that when things are really bad, his first reaction is to laugh. And to be honest, the past two weeks have been pretty bad if you’re a Somali Muslim refugee, like Hassan, hoping to start a new life in the United States.

When I called him up at his home in Nairobi, Kenya, a few days after the Trump immigration restrictions were announced, he was chuckling. "This is funny. It's really very funny," he told me, just so I knew it wasn’t. "[Trump] is going to do much worse than this. He thinks all that havoc and chaos is working. Ha. Ha. Ha.”

Dawn hadn't yet broken this morning when the US Senate voted to roll back a rule that made it harder for US energy companies to pay bribes in developing countries.

The move is hailed as a victory for oil, gas and mining companies. House Republicans had already voted to repeal the rule Wednesday, so the rollback goes to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature.

First it was the zucchinis.  

Then the iceberg lettuce. 

Then even the satsumas, those small mandarin oranges. 

That's when The World's reporter in London, Leo Hornak, says he really got hungry: "I'm at the epicenter of a zucchini famine. An iceberg lettuce drought."    

Britain is in the middle of a vegetable crisis due to poor growing conditions in southern Europe, where many of these vegetables are cultivated during the winter months.  

US President Donald Trump's immigration ban has affected people across the world, including politicians from some of the United States' closest allies. 

Nadhim Zahawi is not an obvious security threat to the US or the United Kingdom. As the elected member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon (Shakespeare's birthplace), he is a prominent member of Britain's governing Conservative Party, and sits on Parliament's Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee.

Get with the program or get out.

That was the stark message from White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday in response to news that State Department officials have drafted a memo of dissent. The memo was leaked to the Lawfare blog.  

It's been a week of "will he or won't he" (he being President Donald Trump). And the topic? The use of torture in interrogations with terrorism suspects.

In an interview with ABC on Wednesday, the president said waterboarding "absolutely works," but by Friday, the president stepped back — just a bit. While he said he believed torture and other tactics, euphemistically referred to as "enhanced interrogation," worked, he said he'd allow his defense secretary, former Marine Gen. James Mattis, to "override" him.

More than 2 million people worldwide took to the streets over the weekend to demand women's rights. Now that everyone turned out, what's next? How do you turn a march into a movement?

The Women's March organizers have been planning those next steps for the past few months. 

"There are already things happening right after the march," explains Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Organization of New York, and co-chair of the Women's March on Washington. 

It’s fair to say that facts are taking a beating during President Donald Trump's first few days on the job.

There were the claims and counterclaims about the size of the Inauguration Day crowd in Washington, and whether it rained or not when Trump spoke.

On Saturday, the president praised the intelligence agencies at the CIA's headquarters — just days after comparing their work to Nazi Germany.

There were attacks on the media.

And somewhere along the line, falsehoods got relabeled as "alternative facts."

President Donald Trump has taken office, and in his inaugural speech he called for loyalty — to the United States, and to one another.

All this kid wanted for Christmas was to be at Trump's inauguration

Jan 20, 2017

People trickled onto the National Mall before sunset Thursday, many wearing red hats, stopping for photos at a fenced area with a clear view of the Capitol Building to the east and the Washington Monument to the west.

A young, bearded man holding a sign that said "Not my president" stepped up on a barrier wall.

The loose crowd burst into boos and cheers, almost by command. Some of them started bickering. Insulting each other.

And an eager boy in a black suit — and a red hat — called on his mom to look at the commotion.

From Mauritania: A song for breast cancer awareness

Jan 18, 2017

Women's health is an important issue for singer Noura Mint Seymali. Breast cancer awareness, specifically.

Noura Mint Seymali is from Mauritania, in West Africa. And she wants to make sure women, especially women in Africa, get their annual screenings.

I had the opportunity to meet Seymali last fall before a show. She told me "I've wanted to write about this subject for a long time." She wanted to raise awareness, in part, because her mother died of breast cancer.

Seeing a rise in the visibility of LGBT and women's rights movements in their country, Peruvian conservatives responded with a "March for Heterosexual Pride."

The day Princess Diana stepped into an active minefield

Jan 13, 2017

On Jan. 15, 1997, one of the world's most famous women walked through an active minefield in Angola, and detonated a mine in front of an audience of international reporters, with the help of a land mine removal expert.

"I did not want to be on the front page of the news the next day," that mine removal expert, Paul Heslop, recently told the BBC, "as the man who'd blown up Princess Diana."

During World War II, the US Army came up with an idea to boost soldier morale: musicals. 

They were designed for the soldiers themselves to perform in the field.

For the past few days, some of those shows have been performed for the first time since the war. The stage is not on Broadway, but another venue in New York City: a former aircraft carrier, now docked on the Hudson River and known as the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

This is the official poem of 2016

Dec 31, 2016

This has been a tough year.

All sorts of news publications have even asked if it was the “Worst Year Ever.”

It’s been the year of a contentious US election season. The year of Brexit. The year of terrorist attacks all over the world.

When Oklahoma legislator Markwayne Mullin recently told Reuters, "We should take tribal land away from public treatment," the backlash was instant.

Right or wrong, world events filter differently through a Russian lens.

Take the war in Syria.

Is President Bashar al-Assad the Syrian dictator who has relentlessly prosecuted a war against his own countrymen, using tools including chemical weapons? In the West, most certainly he is.  

In Russia? Not quite. 

State media here portrays Assad, whose regime is an ally to Russia, as the embattled leader of a country facing the tyranny of both the Islamic State and Western powers scheming to overthrow its legitimately elected government. 

Much to China's dismay, a mere phone call between Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and US President-elect Donald Trump has suddenly put Taiwan's fragile political relationship with China in the global spotlight.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is often seen as a place of military rule, gradually moving towards democracy. But in recent weeks, a new story has emerged: what one UN official called the "ethnic cleansing" of a religious minority.

Refugees fleeing the affected areas have told horrendous stories of rapes, killings and house burnings. These claims are denied by the government. 

The world breathed a sigh of relief when West Africa’s Ebola outbreak came to an end earlier this year, closing the books on the largest and most deadly epidemic in history.

More than 28,500 people were infected and more than 11,000 died in just two years.

But while the outbreak might already feel like a distant memory, Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers are still a fact of life across communities in Africa.

Any number of Syrian refugees may be too many for Trump

Dec 1, 2016

In early 2015, Gasem al-Hamad and his wife, Wajed al-Khlifa, along with their four young children, arrived in Turlock, a small rural city about two hours from San Francisco. It marked the end of a three-year journey, after fleeing war in Syria, seeking safety in Jordan and waiting to find out where they would next call home.

You can count on Cuban artist Tania Bruguera to stir things up when she heads back to Cuba in the coming weeks. 

Bruguera is imagining a new future, even as her homeland officially mourns the death of revolutionary icon Fidel Castro.

"We need somebody in power that is able to create an image of the country that attracts the people who've thought (Cuba) was a failed project," she says. "Right now, though, I think the most important thing is that everybody has the right to feel what they feel, and the lesson is to know how to accept everybody's feelings without judging."

Last month, Across Women's Lives and The World asked audiences: "If you had $1 billion to spend on women in your country, what would you do?"

It was part of our Balance of Power series on the intersection of gender and foreign policy. For two weeks, AWL reporters and editors dug into the effects of US foreign policy on women, analyzing the numbers and meeting women around the world with important stories to tell.

Here's a taste of Cuban music in the time of Castro

Nov 28, 2016

Cuba has had a rich musical history, both before and during Fidel Castro's revolution and presidency.

Today, when most people think of Cuban music, they're quick to mention Buena Vista Social Club, and there's good reason. But there's so much more to Cuban music than that all-star group. Here are a few more pivotal artists to check out.

1. 1960s - LOS ZAFIROS: “Cuando yo la conocí”

Navigating post-truth politics in Russia and America

Nov 23, 2016

Moscow-born author Masha Gessen knows a thing or two about challenging autocratic regimes.

The journalist and author is a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

These days she sees some frightening parallels between Russia's leader and America's president-elect. 

Donald Trump, she says, is intent on using the tools of democracy to unravel democracy. 

“She was an old-school soul singer par excellence, and one of my favorite musicians ... ever,” said The World’s host Marco Werman.

Soul singer Sharon Jones died this month at age 60 after a battle with cancer. Her early career included singing in a wedding band and working at Rikers Island prison in New York. Later, it was her longtime band the Dap-Kings that fueled her high-energy shows.

Documentary filmmaker Matt Rogers followed Jones's career from her lean days to her storybook success. He says the first time he saw her sing was in New York about 15 years ago.

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to make big changes when it comes to US foreign policy. But, as of this week, it seems he may also have some thoughts on British foreign policy.

He shared one insight on the topic Monday. Not in a meeting with the prime minister, or a confidential memo to the British Embassy. But on Twitter.

Trump tweeted that the British should choose a new ambassador to the United States, and he knows someone who would do a "great job" — Nigel Farage.

Imagine the sounds coming out of a busy blacksmith shop in an alleyway in Paris sometime back in the 18th century: the hammering of wrought iron, the rhythmic whoosh of air as the blacksmith uses a bellows to stoke a fire.

We have no recordings of the actual sounds of Paris in those early days, so to try and make those 18th-century streets and alleys of Paris come to life takes a bit of careful historical research and a little imagination.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has recorded more than 400 incidents of harassment and hate in the first six days since Donald Trump won the US presidential election.

The civil rights group, based in Montgomery, Alabama, has set up a forum on its website for people to report incidents. It’s also been collating media reports from across the country.