The World

Weekdays at 3

"PRI's The World®" is your world revealed. It's about the events, trends, and personal tales that connect us around the globe. Marco Werman hosts an hour of surprising angles, unexpected insights, and engaging voices to illuminate what's going on in the world, and why it matters to you.

Reporters and editors for "PRI's The World®" seek voices of people around the globe to reveal what's happening and why. Bringing this new global journalism to the United States, The World's unique editorial perspective brings energy and passion to each day's broadcast. The goal: to take us beyond borders and boundaries, and fire up our curiosity about a fascinating, messy, contentious and beautiful planet. It's about exploration and risk, war and peace, fun and folly, and how our daily drama plays out around the globe.

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Stéphane Remael

It all started in a bar in Paris, back in 2008, when a friend told Lena Mauger a story. It was about a Japanese couple who had disappeared. They hadn’t died. They weren’t kidnapped. They just deliberately vanished in the middle of the night without explanation.

And this wasn’t just a one-off, mysterious occurrence. According to Mauger’s friend, it was a phenomenon. In Japan, thousands of people each year became johatsu — “evaporated people” — driven underground by the stigma of debt, job loss, divorce, even just failing an exam.

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Francois Lenoir/ Reuters

The phrase “climate change” triggers images of a huge, global phenomenon. Rising seas. Drought. Ocean acidification.

But it's actually experienced on a much smaller scale, by individual plants, animals and people.

And most of the world’s organisms experience it much differently than humans do.

“As humans, we have this really biased view of the world. Well over 95 percent of the organisms on Earth, they’re completely dependent on the ambient environment for their temperature,” says Northeastern University marine biologist Brian Helmuth.

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Richard Hall/PRI

Wadha Khalaf sits cross-legged on the rough ground, throwing dough between her hands like she’s done it a million times before.

The 45-year-old mother of 13 is a new arrival among the thousands of displaced Yazidis living on top of Mount Sinjar, in northern Iraq — a sacred place for people of her faith.

But it is not the first time she has sought safety here.

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Matthew Bell 

The weather was simply awful. 

But the cold, wind and rain didn’t deter thousands of people from attending an annual ritual in downtown Seoul on a recent weekday afternoon. 

People came to chant the words of the Diamond Sutra from Buddhist scripture with senior monks from the Jogye Order, the most prominent sect in Korean Buddhism, who presided over the event. 

Also on hand were officials from most of South Korea’s major political parties. 

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Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

The Trump White House has doubled down on its demand that a government spending bill include $1.4 billion for a wall on the US-Mexico border. 

But a determined group of US lawmakers is prepared to stand in the president's way.

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Amy Bracken 

On a bright Sunday morning, the Suchiate River bustles with makeshift rafts loaded with people. It’s a popular place to cross from Guatemala to Mexico. And crossing is easy. There’s no wall, and no border patrol in sight.

It's known as Paso del Coyote, or “Coyote Pass.” 

Luis Fernando Pérez operates a raft here, and for years he’s brought across passengers — and migrants, many from Central America.

But lately he’s seen a change.

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Max Nesterak

Armand Melk-Johnson gives me a tour of his host family’s home, a one-and-a-half story bungalow in Minneapolis.

He’s staying with his host mom Alicia and her two young kids, Mariel and Thomas.

Melk-Johnson is 15 and a ninth-grader at Minnehaha Academy, a private school in Minneapolis, that's doing something different. It’s running a program called City Stay, which offers students the chance to immerse in a new culture for one week. Currently, the program places students with Latino, Somali and Hmong host families.

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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The Trump administration is contemplating sending US reinforcements to try to stabilize Afghanistan. Defense Secretary James Mattis is visiting the capital, Kabul, to assess the situation.

However, Mattis can't meet with his Afghan counterpart, or the head of the Afghan military, as those guys quit Monday. Their resignations came after a military disaster last Friday, in which Afghanistan's army suffered its biggest loss of the war.

Insurgents overran a base near the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and killed at least 100 soldiers.

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Courtesy of "Almost Asian"

When I stumbled across Katie Malia’s YouTube series “Almost Asian,” I thought, "Oh my goodness, I have found my half-Japanese sister from another mister."

I watched every episode, back-to-back, laughing, even guffawing at times. The short scripted series follows the half-Japanese actress navigating show business in Los Angeles. In an industry where looks really matter, Malia finds herself floundering in a no-man’s land where she’s not quite Asian enough, or white enough.

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Courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize

Rodrigo Tot is a 60-year-old farmer and an indigenous land rights activist from Guatemala. He represents an isolated, small Q’eqchi farming and fishing community of about 270 members in the long-running fight to secure legal ownership over their communal lands.

Tot and his community stood up to the government and nickel miners expanding into their land in Agua Caliente.

And now he's won one of the world's most prestigious activism awards, the Goldman Environmental Prize.

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Nadège Mazars/Hans Lucas

Fredy Flores wears his black cowboy hat slung low over his forehead. His eyes, barely visible beneath the rim, are only open a slit, which may be a reaction to the glaring sun and pulsing heat — but more likely it's because he’s angry. Flores is an artisanal miner in San Sebastian, a remote El Salvadoran town, and a law passed recently has banned his means of survival.

“Here there is no other source of work for all our families,” Flores says. “Here there is nothing.”

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Peter Pereira

The traffic blockade was ready. The vans and buses were standing by. The agents told the mayor and the Department of Social Services. And then they stormed the factory.

It was March 6, 2007, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Immigration officials raided the Michael Bianco leather factory, a defense contractor that hired hundreds of undocumented workers to sew belts and backpacks for the US military.

The agents arrested 362 workers, most of whom were deported to Guatemala.

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Sonia Narang

This is a story about what happens when you finally get to touch the light you’ve longed for your whole life.

Sona Hosseini passes through the doors of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. She exits the stairwell, and stands beside a dome that holds one of the observatory’s telescopes.

“It feels like home,” she says. And not just here — she’s at home anywhere associated with outer space.

“It’s been a long friendship between me and astronomy,” Hosseini admits.

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David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters

World military expenditure had been declining since the beginning of this decade until 2015, which saw a 1 percent increase.

Global governments spent a total of $1,676 billion on defense, and more than one-third of that came from the US, the world's top military spender, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Edward Snowden was bigger than a rock star at his SXSW panel today

Apr 23, 2017

We haven’t heard from Edward Snowden in a while. The former NSA contractor does few interviews. But that changed in Austin, Texas, on Monday.

Snowden joined a panel moderated by the American Civil Liberties Union at the SXSW Interactive Festival. He appeared on a video screen near an image of the constitution — in a packed exhibition hall, the largest at SXSW. The festival also simulcast his talk in several other locations. The crowd welcomed him like a rock star.

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David Gray/Reuters

UPDATE: This story was originally published on February 3. On April 22, 2017, the Trump Administration said it would honor an Obama-era agreement with Australia, under which the United States would resettle up to 1,250 asylum seekers stuck in offshore processing camps on two South Pacific islands: Manus in Papua New Guinea and the tiny island nation of Nauru. Back in January, President Donald Trump had described the deal as "dumb". 

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Courtesy: Eaten Fish

UPDATE: This story was originally published on Feb. 9. On April 22, 2017, the Trump Administration said it would honor an Obama-era agreement with Australia,

under which the United States would resettle up to 1,250 asylum seekers stuck in offshore processing camps on two South Pacific islands: Manus in Papua New Guinea and the tiny island nation of Nauru. Back in January, President Donald Trump described the deal as "dumb". 

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Michael Green

UPDATE: This story was originally published on April 7. On April 22, the Trump Administration said it would honor an Obama-era agreement with Australia, under which the United States would resettle up to 1,250 asylum seekers stuck in offshore processing camps on two South Pacific islands: Manus in Papua New Guinea and the tiny island nation of Nauru. Back in January, President Donald Trump described the deal as "dumb". 

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Charles Platiau/Reuters

Thursday night, some media outlets were remarking on the triple symbolism of the Champs-Élysées attack.

The targets were the French police, the most emblematic avenue in France, and an election campaign hitting a nail-biting climax.

The attack occurred as all 11 candidates in this first round of the election were making their final live TV appearance.

The next day, campaign rallies were canceled and candidates chose to make solemn pronouncements as to how they would meet the Islamic terror challenge if they were to become president.

A key supplier of Syria's chemical weapons? North Korea.

Apr 21, 2017
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Reuters/KCNA

The horrors of civil war in Syria have proved a blessing for North Korea.

The regime of Kim Jong-un has made a killing selling arms and ammunition to the regime of fellow dictator, Bashar al-Assad.

Last summer, the passage of burkini bans by several French beach towns made international news. In France, they dominated the headlines for months, fed by a polemical presidential campaign in which Islam has been a major topic. But noticeably absent from the French media is the perspective of the women who might wear a burkini.

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Siegfried Modola/Reuters

As Adama tells me her story, the motivation for her fight, she pounds on her chest proudly.

She has an enormous smile and a stylish shock of short hair. Adama is 23, originally from The Gambia. When she was a little kid there, her mother told her: "You’re going to go visit your aunt, and when you come back, we’re going to take you to school." 

"That’s how it happened," Adama recalls.

In South Korea, being gay is still taboo

Apr 21, 2017

A watchdog group that tracks cases of abuse inside the South Korean military says the army brass is carrying out a nationwide crackdown to identify and root out homosexual service members. 

Earlier this year, a video surfaced online of two male soldiers having sex. Military officials say they responded with a proper investigation into the incident. 

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Arthur Nazaryan/PRI

It was just two years ago that Liban Adam found himself in the shrublands in northern Somalia, crouched over a giant bowl of camel’s milk. The camel herder who gave it to him watched from behind, amused, as the 24-year-old timidly tasted the sour drink for the first time.

These are sleepless nights and worry-filled days for many undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children.

"Every single day, when I leave my home I pray to God that I'm going to come back home to see my mother," says Martha Zavala Perez, an immigrant with DACA status living in Oxnard, California. DACA is short for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a 2012 Obama administration executive order that offered temporary protection and work permits to immigrants who arrived in the US as children.

The last time The World talked with Irish singer Imelda May, she had a rockabilly look and sound. But now, six years later, that's all gone.

"As you get older you change. And as a woman you change," she says. "I had a child, been married forever and then getting divorced and things change. And I just felt that wasn't me anymore."

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Zaidee Stavely

A colorful mural on the wall at the University of California, Davis’ immigration law clinic shows letters from immigrants behind bars and chains turning into quetzal birds: a metaphor for the students' work.

Chicano studies students painted the mural and “chose the quetzal over the dove because it represents freedom,” explains the clinic's co-director, Holly Cooper. “In the Mayan mythology it’s believed that if a quetzal is brought into a cage, it will die.”

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Jason Redmond/Reuters

The Trump administration has been a huge windfall for the private prison industry. Two of the largest companies have seen their stock price more than double since Trump’s election in November.

But private detention centers are also taking a hit in the courts and in the media.

US President Donald Trump hasn't won any friends in South Korea this week.

A firestorm has erupted on South Korean social media after Trump said during an interview with The Wall Street Journal, “Korea actually used to be a part of China.”

The Wall Street Journal published the story on April 12, but it gained traction in South Korea this week.

An official with the foreign ministry in Seoul responded Wednesday by saying the Trump comment was “historically untrue” and “not worthy of a response.”

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Rebecca Rosman

After his father died when he was only a teenager, Yassine Mazzout started working nights at the landfill next to his home near Morocco’s capital Rabat, salvaging items that could be recycled or sold from the mountain of filth.

“At 15, I should have spent my evenings playing with other kids,” said Mazzout. “But I spent all of my free time [at the landfill] to make money for my family.”

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