The World

News & Information: Mon • 1pm-2pm
  • Hosted by Marco Werman

PRI’s The World pioneered the new global journalism in America. Its unique editorial voice combines coverage of the day’s news, worldwide, with interviews and sound-rich features that examine the lives of people around the globe, and their connections to life in the U.S., giving listeners a global context for understanding America’s day.

Without ska, there would be no reggae

Aug 18, 2015

If there's one musical style that epitomizes summer, it might be the loping island style of ska. It caught fire in early '60s Jamaica, a precursor to reggae.  

But ska has gone through a few iterations. 

Ska is really a fusion of American R&B with Jamaican jazz, says Brad Klein, a Minneapolis-based filmmaker who traced the history of ska in a documentary, "Legends of Ska. Without Ska, there is no reggae."

Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

There are more questions than answers nearly a week after a devastating explosion in the Chinese port of Tianjin. Hazardous waste crews have been sweeping through the areas where the blasts occurred.

"There are still thousands of soldiers combing through the site, trying to determine what's in the air and water. The latest water samples show 27 times the standards of cyanide,” says Julie Makinen, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times who has covered this disaster.

<a href="">Christie Images</a>

James Nienhuis, a professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin, and a colleague wanted to find out how fruits and vegetables have changed over the years.

But they faced a major hurdle: Unlike grains, which survive intact for years, fruits and vegetables perish fast.

"[Researchers] can look at the grains and [...] trace the whole history of how that grain changed in size and color and shape," he says. "It occurred to us that really the fascinating record of the recent evolution of vegetables is available to us in Renaissance art," he says.

Bangkok blast 'sounded like thunder'

Aug 17, 2015
Athit Perawongmetha/REUTERS

Thailand is no stranger to political violence.

A decades-long insurgency in the south has claimed thousands of lives.

But the capital of Bangkok was considered relatively safe.

Not anymore.

Today, a bomb exploded inside the Erawan shrine in the city center. It's a lively spot. The Hindu shrine has a statue of the Thai version of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. The shrine's a big draw for tourists, and more than a dozen people were reported killed. It's also close to where Steve Herman works. He's a correspondent with Voice of America.

Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

Brazilians are taking to the streets. Again.

Two years ago, Brazilians, mostly from the left, came out to protest higher bus fares. This time the voices are coming mostly from the political right. Tens of thousands took part in marches and rallies throughout Brazil on Sunday protesting the economic policies of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and her Workers’ Party.

Many in the crowd also called for Rousseff's impeachment, or for more dramatic steps.  

University of Houston Digital Library/<a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>

A series of explosions in Tianjin, China, last week claimed more than 110 lives and leveled many city blocks. Scores more were injured and the cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

The explosions have raised questions about safety standards in China's rapidly developing economy — and also evoke memories of previous port disasters, many in the US, including one that altered the course of US jurisprudence.

Here are four significant port disasters of the last 100 years:

What made these three British teens join ISIS?

Aug 17, 2015
Metropolitan Police

On February 17, 2015, three young British women made a journey that shocked the world. They snuck away from their families and flew to Turkey, on the first leg of a journey to Syria to join ISIS. They were just 15 and 16.

Since then, their families and communities have been struggling to figure out why.

Quinn Dumbrowski

The Chinese Ministry of Culture recently ordered 120 songs erased from the web, citing their “immoral nature” as the reason for their takedown.

Many of the songs have been around for at least a decade, says reporter Beimeng Fu, who has been reporting on the censored songs for BuzzFeed.

Take MC HotDog’s song, “I Love Taiwanese Girls.”

Volcano near nuclear plant raising concerns in Japan

Aug 17, 2015
Kyodo/ Reuters

Just under a week after the first nuclear power plant re-opened in Japan, critics are voicing conerns about safety. Oh, and there's a volcano.

After the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, all of Japan's nuclear reactors were shut down. To reopen, plants must pass new safety requirement. Plants must have an upgrade plan, an engineering work plan and receive pre-service inspections. These upgrade plans must include disaster preparedness — one plant in Hamaoka built a 70-foot-high, mile-long tsunami seawall in December in order to comply with the new regulations. 

Could ISIS appeal to Guantanamo detainees?

Aug 17, 2015
Michelle Shephard/Reuters

American intelligence officials who were once trying to figure out if the detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison were al-Qaeda and what role they played, have now a new task at hand: Trying to figure out what the detainees think about ISIS.

Carol Rosenberg, reporter for the Miami Herald who has reported on Guantanamo since 2001, says detainees at the prison have been learning about the group from sources like newspapers and television.

"Their information is from the media made available to them by the US military," she says.

Is this the workplace of the future?

Aug 17, 2015
Jason Redmond/Reuters

Amazon is the world's most valuable retailer in the US with an estimated valuation of $250 billion — in July, the online retailer eclipsed that other retail behemoth, Walmart.

Courtesy of&nbsp;Pnina Ein Mor, from the book&nbsp;&quot;Ein-Kerem&nbsp;-&nbsp;Voyage&nbsp;to the Enchanted Village&quot; by Moshe&nbsp;Amirav

There’s an old Arab mansion turned into a romantic boutique hotel in a Jerusalem village with rooms named after famous lovers from mythology and history. But there’s no room named after the Jewish woman who once lived there with her Arab Christian husband.

It’s a star-crossed love story that in Israel is still considered taboo, or “political.”

“We didn’t want to go [into] politics — Christian, Jews, this stuff,” says Ishay Malka. “For a boutique hotel, you come to just stay out from the news and stuff. We didn’t want to get politics into the building.”

Chemical blasts in a Chinese port city raise questions about safety

Aug 17, 2015
Damir Sagoli/Reuters

Chemical explosions in the Chinese port city of Tianjin sent enormous fireballs and thick acrid smoke into the air on Thursday, shattering windows miles away. The death toll climbed to at least 50 on Thursday with more than 700 injured. The blasts occurred at a warehouse stocked with hazardous chemicals. 

The Guardian's Fergus Ryan arrived on the scene hours after the blasts. "I saw huge chunks of metal that had been stripped from shipping containers and had been flung over the highway. They had flown 500 meters to land jutting out of the ground."

&nbsp;Patrick Gilliéron-Lopreno

When 22-year-old David Hyde from New Zealand was offered a prestigious internship at the UN office in Geneva, Switzerland, he was thrilled. But, like many internships, it was unpaid. And Geneva is the sixth-most expensive city in the world. So his solution? Live in a tent.

After his story made worldwide news, it turned out it was more complicated than that. But first, the hype:

There's a musician in Haiti who's making a bit of history. His name is Freshla (real name Donald Joseph) and he's one of the most popular producers and musicians in Haiti right now.

And if that's not enough, Freshla's a player on the political scene as well as, especially as the the island nation looks ahead to this weekend's Parlimentary elections.

Freshla's making waves with hit songs like "Kite Ti Pati'm Kanpe."

Sandy and Climate Change &mdash; 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

Historical photos circulating depict women medical pioneers

Jul 21, 2015

There’s a remarkable picture that’s been making the rounds on the web recently.

You may have seen the shot: it’s of a group of medical students and they’re all women.

One’s from Japan, one’s from India and the third from Syria. They’re all wearing traditional clothes from their home countries.

Nothing too remarkable in that, you might say. Until you see the date.


These women were students at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP).

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:

Japan's Tsunami-Stricken Fishermen Chart New Course

Jul 2, 2015

Last year's tsunami virtually destroyed many northern Japanese fishing communities. A year later, residents are struggling to rebuild, but as Sam Eaton reports, some are finding that the disaster has given them the opportunity to chart a new course.