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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Cleveland, Ohio is only about the 48th biggest city in the United States and its economy has been struggling. But this week, the city has earned worldwide attention in pro sports. The Cleveland Cavaliers won their first NBA championship in franchise history.

It was also the city's first pro championship in 52 years. And Cleveland's local fans weren't the only ones going wild after Sunday night's win.

In the socially conservative country of Chile, the threat of violence against LGBT people is ever-present. In March of 2012, Daniel Zamudio was beaten, mutilated and left for dead by a homophobic gang in Santiago.

In the wake of Zamudio's death, many queer Chilean youth found solace in one song, "Cómo Puedes Vivir Contigo Mismo?" (How can you live with yourself?) by Chilean pop star Álex Anwandter.

'The Cosby Show's' legacy in South Africa

May 28, 2016

Bill Cosby's fall from grace has been steep. For decades he was not only an American icon but a global one.

His groundbreaking sitcom "The Cosby Show" was a hit around the world, including in South Africa. In fact in the mid-1980s, during the height of repression under apartheid, "The Cosby Show" was the most popular TV program among white South Africans. Black South Africans watched it too. 

While a downpour pounded Seoul on a recent morning, Kwon Byong Hyon had a different sort of storm on his mind.

It was fourteen years earlier, on the day he first landed in Beijing, as Korea’s ambassador to China.

“The first thing that met me was a thick yellow sand storm,” Kwon remembered.

The storm had blotted out the sun, and the air was thick and stinging. The next day, Kwon got a call from his young daughter back in Seoul.

“Daddy, Seoul is covered in a terrible dust storm,” she said. “I can’t stand (it).”

As a Jamaican expat said to Bunny Wailer in the green room after his recent performance in Boston, "Peter gone, Bob gone. You da only one dere."

This is a statement of fact, but also of musical reality. Bunny Wailer is now 69, and appears to be in good health. He spent 90 minutes before an excited full-house at Boston's Paradise nightclub, ably dusting off old classics and new songs. He was dressed all in white, his gray dreads swirling on his head like the top of a soft-serve ice cream cone.

Every month, the United States deports thousands of men, women and children to Guatemala. But many continue to come, or at least try. Many are fleeing remote villages that were devastated by violence during the country’s armed conflict decades ago, and that now suffer economically.

Puerto Ricans feel the pinch as the island defaults on $422 million of its huge debt

May 2, 2016

Puerto Rico's financial crisis deepened Sunday as Governor Alejandro García Padilla announced the US commonwealth would default on $422 million in debt.

The governor said that San Juan can't pay creditors when it needs to fund public sector salaries, health and education budgets, which, if neglected, could unleash a "humanitarian crisis."

Puerto Rico has been locked in recession for a decade, and already defaulted on some debt payments at the beginning of the year.

We’ve heard a lot in the news lately about the massive corruption problems at FIFA, the governing body of world soccer. A few high profile indictments issued by the US Justice Department will do that.

But FIFA has another big problem that deserves as much attention, if not more: human rights abuses linked to its tournaments and activities.

I moved to Minneapolis for Prince

Apr 21, 2016

I moved to Minneapolis, sight unseen and without a friend in the city, in the fall of 2012. When people asked me why, the running joke was: "For Prince."

Except, it wasn't a joke.

The devil is in the details. It’s an old cliché but never truer than at moments like this: crunch time at the pivotal UN climate change conference in Paris.

For the last two weeks delegates from nearly 200 nations meeting here have been haggling over a new global climate deal on which the future health of our planet and species may well depend.

You need chemicals to fight cancer, and chemists have spent decades working on molecules they hope will fight everything from breast cancer to prostate cancer. But all the chemists in the world are no match for Mother Nature.

David Newman, who heads the Natural Products branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Frederick, Maryland, says Mother Nature “has been doing her chemistry for three billion years," while chemists have been at work for less than 300.

Research Expedition Captures Stunning Images of Plankton

Jan 21, 2016

The World's environment editor Peter Thomson talks with host Aaron Schachter about new pictures of plankton, the tiny organisms that float around in the world's oceans.

From PRI's The World ©2015 Public Radio International

Undersea Life Around 'Black Smoker' Vents

Jan 21, 2016

For all of you weary of winter these days, take a brief trip now to the Caribbean — but, not the turquoise waters and mild breezes you might be longing for this February.

Imagine instead a hot, pitch-black sea filled with jagged, pipe-like outcroppings that shoot scalding fluid into the water.

They're called "black smokers" — underwater vents at the bottom of the Caribbean sea more than three miles below the surface, in an area between Cuba and Jamaica known as the Cayman Trough.

Today, The World launches a new series on climate change and the future of food.  Host Marco Werman speaks with The World's environment editor Peter Thomson about the inspiration for the series and some of what we'll hear over the next couple of months.

Marco Werman: What's for lunch?

It’s one of my favorite questions, always.

You listeners have been helping us with answers in recent days, Instagramming your meals using the hashtag #whats4lunch, and telling us how what you eat has might be changing because of climate change.

A new study in the journal The Lancet outlines 10 key nutrition interventions that could save the lives of almost a million children a year. 

These interventions include giving vitamin A and zinc supplements to toddlers, and offering calcium to pregnant women. 

Host Marco Werman speaks with the study's lead author, Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta of the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan.

Read the Transcript

Dutch architect Henk Ovink is looking for oysters as part of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Taskforce for the US government. 

In a small park at Wageningen University, biologist Arnold van Vliet points out the signs of spring that are all around — a prunus tree, with nice white flowers, a hazel bush unfolding its leaves.

It’s a lovely sight on a beautiful spring day. The only problem is that these flowers and leaves really shouldn’t be here in the Netherlands yet.

“Everything is now two to three weeks ahead of schedule,” van Vliet said. “Butterflies are appearing very early — extremely early because of the very warm March we had.”

The news out of Syria is so often grim that it can be easy to forget that there are still local activists on the ground, civilians who haven’t fled, been kidnapped, or killed by airstrikes, barrel bombs or ISIS.

As more and more men die or go missing, the ones taking leadership in what’s left of Syrian civil society after nearly five years of grinding conflict are increasingly women — and they want to be heard.

Iain Kerr squints in the sun as he fiddles with a small camera mounted to the bottom of what looks like a remote control helicopter with four small propellers — he’s looking for whale DNA.

If you’re getting your DNA tested for some reason, all a researcher or doctor has to do is take a blood sample or even just swab the inside of your cheek. But it’s a little trickier when the research subject weighs more than 400 pounds and lives underwater.

Kerr is among researchers in Gloucester, Massachusetts who have developed a very innovative way to get information about whales.

The Vatican was not pleased. But in grand Charlie Hebdo tradition, the cover is equal-opportunity-offender as the god is non-denominational.

Some people were offended by it, others decided to look the other way and say that this is the way Charlie Hebdo operates.

An op-ed from Laurent Sourisseau — known as Riss — who heads Charlie Hebdo, defends the cover saying that Charlie Hebdo is the only atheist paper in France.

North Korea's claim it tested a hydrogen nuclear device got experts rushing to examine seismic records and satellite recordings. But hold on, Nellie! History shows Pyongyang has a history of whoppers. Or Whoppers, if you include the claim its onetime leader invented the hamburger. Here's a half-dozen reasons you should take its latest claim with a pound of salt, as Washington is apparently doing.  

South Korea's 'Coffin Academy'

Dec 15, 2015

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The BBC just published a story on how stressed South Korean employees are learning a new away to appreciate life. Here's our 2011 feature on the nation's 'Coffin Academy.') 

In a large room, about 60 men and women slip on traditional Korean death robes made from hemp. Then they step into wooden caskets. The lids are closed and hammered shut.

This isn't a real funeral. The coffins remain closed for only about five minutes, and the pounding of nails is just for show.

Haunting images from the attacks in Paris

Nov 14, 2015

American photojournalist Shane McMillan was one of the first photographers on the scene of the attacks in the 11th district near the Bataclan concert hall on Friday night when the shootings broke out. The courtyard of the apartment building where he had been staying in Paris was turned into a triage center for victims. He continues to photograph the scene today in Paris. NOTE: Some images in this story may not be suitable for all audiences.


Who moved my cheese? 4 tons of it.

Nov 11, 2015

You can “say cheese” as often as you like, but no one in the eastern French town Goux-les-Usiers is smiling.

Police are investigating a crime there. Here’s what we know so far:

Under the cover of darkness, a gang of cheese thieves cut through a barbed-wire fence and used a crowbar to break into a Napiot dairy near the Swiss border. They made off with 100 wheels of hard, aged Comté cheese. Dairy farmers there are now considering installing security cameras.

What's so great about Denmark?

Oct 15, 2015

One of the stars of Tuesday night's debate was not a candidate but a small country of just under 6 million people: Denmark. Famously named the happiest country on the globe in a 2013 World Happiness Report, Denmark was invoked by Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders as an exemplar of his Democratic Socialist platform.  

These young Mexican women artists are speaking up

Aug 30, 2015

A new generation of bold visual artists is coming of age in the country that gave us the iconic Frida Kahlo.

Meet Mexican artists Aline Herrera and Natasha Kroupensky. They’re young, opinionated, and most importantly, full of ideas. They’re using their voices, and creativity, to bring attention to indigenous communities in Mexico.

Sandy and Climate Change — An Arctic Connection?

Aug 5, 2015

"Superstorm" Sandy is just the latest in a wave of extremely unusual weather events to hit the US and the rest of the world in recent years, leading many to wonder about the possible link to climate change. Host Lisa Mullins raises the question with The World's environment editor Peter Thomson.

From PRI's The World ©2015 Public Radio International

Casey McElheney, a San Francisco firefighter, has a cabin up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in eastern California. We hiked up to a summit there last month.

"I think I see a little snow,” I told him.

"There’s hardly anything there," McElheney said. "And usually everywhere around here, it’d be white."

Global Forecast: Stormy Weather

Jul 2, 2015

When you do what I do, the news about climate change comes rather like snowflakes in a blizzard–from all directions at once, and accumulating in such overwhelming amounts and impact that it can be hard to know where to start digging out.   But as global negotiators pack their bags for the latest UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa later this month, here are a few of the more sobering bits of recent news: