The World

Weekdays, 6:00 p.m.
  • Hosted by Marco Werman

PRI’s The World crosses borders and time zones to bring stories home that matter.  It’s about the things that connect us around the globe. We’re heard on over 300 stations across North America. Hosted by Marco Werman, The World is a co-production of WGBH/Boston, Public Radio International, and the BBC World Service.

The World Home

The writer behind my favorite Soviet cartoon died last week. Cheburashka, Eduard Uspensky’s most famous character, helped me to retrace my roots.

Cheburashka is often described as the Soviet version of Mickey Mouse.

Except he’s not a mouse. He may also look like a bear cub or even a monkey, but he’s not that either. That’s the point.

He remained a constant theme throughout my life. He was the Olympic mascot of Russia for several years. My dad would bring back Cheburashka dolls and T-shirts from his work trips.

In central Athens, the sun-drenched streets are filled with tourists clutching at shopping bags and locals crowding cafes. It’s a far cry from the turmoil that has rocked this country over the past eight years.

At long last, things seem to be looking up here. On Monday, after eight years of emergency loans, Greece exited the international bailout program that prevented it from going bankrupt.

The idea that the ocean can run out of fish might seem implausible. Yet if you ask Jesús Enrique León Lara, that’s exactly what has been happening over the last decade in his tiny patch of paradise, a village called Agua Verde in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.

“We lived off what we caught, from what the ocean gave us,” León said. “There was so much fish, so many types of fish. But now it’s not like that. There’s a lot less fish.”

Zaid Nagi, vice president of the Yemeni Americans Merchants Association in New York City, is mad.

“There is real pain here,” he said, “there is real suffering. I’m in direct contact with people whose lives have been destroyed.”

What ever happened to Steve Bannon?

Bannon was the chief executive officer of the Trump campaign in its final months and then chief strategist at the White House for seven months.

He's seen by many on the left as perhaps the main architect of the identity politics of the Trump administration. But Bannon is also seen by many of his supporters as the champion of the "little guy."

The Argentine Senate voted against a bill to legalize abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy on Thursday, even after the reform passed through the Argentine House and opinion polls showed that it had strong public support.

It’s an overcast summer day at the Normandy American Cemetery. Taps plays as a flag-draped casket is carried to a freshly dug grave. A small group gathers to bury a fallen soldier.

For decades, the remains of this sailor were labeled only as Unknown X-9352. Today, he has his name again: Julius “Henry” Pieper.

Henry is finally getting a proper burial. It’s 74 years after his death, on the exact day his Naval ship was sunk by a German mine during World War II D-Day operations.

Back in the 1970s, long-distance phone calls were expensive. So the Guinto family, separated by the Pacific Ocean, used cassette tapes to stay connected.

In the Philippines, Glady Lee remembers her grandparents holding out a tape recorder to say a message to her parents living in San Francisco.

“‘Glady, come here. It's time for you to say hi to your mom and your dad. Tell them what it's like here. Do you want them to bring you anything from the States?'" Lee remembers.

Like many aspiring actors, Shuhei Kinoshita works as a server at a restaurant.

One night, he took a quick break and saw an email from Warner Brothers asking if he’d be available to play a small part in the film “Crazy Rich Asians.” They had gotten his contact information from an audition video he had posted to YouTube months earlier.

“It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t register in your mind when you first read it,” says Kinoshita, who’s based in New York. “I was like, ‘Is this really happening? Is this real?’”

On a Sunday night, Jerry Pinksen and his girlfriend Danielle Kane took a friend out for a birthday dinner. They went to the Danforth, a hip area in Toronto with lots of bars and restaurants.

“And we were out on the patio, and all of a sudden we heard what we thought were gunshots,” Pinksen says. “And we started talking about the recent gun violence that’s been in the city and stuff like that.”

That’s when the restaurant waiters came over and hustled them inside.

How to get beyond a tourist fantasy of Singapore

Aug 15, 2018

Pierre Png never dreamed of being in a Hollywood movie. You could say that Hollywood came to Singapore to find him.

The actor plays Michael Teo in “Crazy Rich Asians,” an adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s novel of the same name. He has been acting in the Singaporean television industry for over 20 years. It wasn’t until director Jon M. Chu went looking for actors from Singapore that Png found himself cast in one of the most anticipated Hollywood movies of the summer.

Cheryl Narumi Naruse remembers watching the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” in a theater in Singapore in 2003. There’s a scene where Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) dives into the ocean to save Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) from drowning. Once she’s back on the ship, Jack Sparrow rips off her corset with a knife so she can cough out water and breathe again.

One of the soldiers says: “I would never have thought of that.”

Jack Sparrow responds: “Clearly, you’ve never been to Singapore.”

Many people in the United States have reacted to the separation of families at the border with sadness, protests, donations and a lawsuit against the federal government. But for some, the story feels especially personal, and familiar.

At least 30 children were among the people killed Thursday when their bus was struck by a missile fired from a warplane in northern Yemen. While authorities vow to investigate, Yemenis are drawing their own conclusions.

The bus, parked at a busy market in Saada in northern Yemen, was filled with boys returning to school following a picnic outing. Yemeni social media lit up with reports of civilian deaths.

On a hot August morning, tour guide Carsten Dedert leads a group of tourists to the entrance of a German anti-aircraft fortress known as a Flak Tower. When this building stood intact during World War II, each of its four towers was mounted with a 27-ton gun to shoot down Allied aircraft. Civilians also used the building as a shelter during air raids.

“This is the main reason the ceiling above your head was built quite thick,” Dedert tells visitors. “Nearly 12 feet.”

For the last several weeks, headlines have been dominated by hurricanes and floods, causing devastation from India and Nepal to the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma is just the latest in a ferocious season of natural disasters.

With long-term recovery in mind, I partnered with the BBC World Service to produce "Seeking Refuge in Houston," which focused on Houston and what happens in the aftermath of a terrible storm.

The woman sits with her hands clasped tightly together.

She’s petite and has long, curly, reddish hair with just a strand or two of gray. She’s still wearing her winter coat, even though it’s uncomfortably warm in the courtroom.

This woman, who asked not to be named, has come here to plead guilty to theft. She’s at the North Vancouver Provincial Court to be sentenced.

A new symbol of women’s rights is turning up at protests from Latin America to the British Isles and across the US. The scarlet cloak and white bonnet outfit from “The Handmaid’s Tale” is being worn by women rallying for abortion rights and fighting against policies and politicians seeking to restrict those rights.

Why taking a sunflower selfie this year might cost you

Aug 8, 2018

If you're a fan of Instagram, you’ve probably seen the shot — a person stands waist deep in sunflowers, with a wistful look on their face. Maybe they include some inspirational words in the caption about enjoying the moment or living in the light.

It’s called a sunflower selfie.

President Donald Trump sent off a barrage of tweets this weekend, questioning, among other things, the Russia collusion investigation and the intelligence of Lebron James. In other words, it was a typical weekend. But lost in the mix were two tweets about economics.

Trump said his tariffs will allow us to pay down “large amounts” of the $21 trillion debt. Is that possible? Could tariffs raise enough revenue to substantially reduce the debt?

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