PRI's The World

Weekdays 7-8p.m.

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.

Blockchain seems to be all the hype these days.

Not that long ago, doors were firmly shut to women who aspired to be international diplomats. 

A woman wasn't permitted to join the US diplomatic corps until 1922. 

In Britain, the appointment of female diplomats was forbidden until 1946 because the UK Foreign Office feared endangering British prestige abroad. 

Listening to some of the world's leading diplomats today, one wonders what conflicts might have been avoided. 

The last time Amy Gottlieb sat next to her husband was in the ambulance that was taking him to a hospital in lower Manhattan. Immigration agents told her to get out first.

“When I saw them drive away, I actually thought they were driving him to another entrance,” she says. “I was so naive.”

She didn’t know then that the agents were going to get him checked by doctors and then put him on a plane to a detention center over 1,200 miles away.

The legendary South African jazz musician and anti-apartheid activist Hugh Masekela died Jan. 23 in Johannesburg. He was 78.

Masekela had a special meaning to us at The World. He was embedded in the fabric of the show — in the early days, whenever we had a technical problem, we would play his song “Uptownship” while we figured out what was wrong. Hearing that song still makes us nervous.

The Trump administration is changing the Middle East and the role of the United States there.  

Vice President Mike Pence spoke to the Israeli Knesset, or parliament, on Monday. “Jerusalem is Israel's capital,” he said, “and as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."  

Under a cloudy sky, Ravi Ragbir quietly reported for his scheduled check-in with immigration authorities at 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan on Thursday morning. It is the same office where he has attended each of his routine meetings for years.

Today, though, Ragbir didn’t walk out.

Haiti has a chicken-and-egg problem

Jan 9, 2018

On any given day, along the border that splits the island of Hispaniola, Haitians enter the Dominican Republic to buy eggs and sneak them back into Haiti, trying to evade customs agents.

Haiti effectively banned the import of Dominican eggs in 2008 and stepped up enforcement a few years ago. The cited reason was health concerns following reports of avian flu, but the ban has been touted as a way to protect domestic production.

The satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo is well-versed in the art of sarcasm and dark humor, to the point of upsetting many with controversial covers.

In their first issue this year, the weekly opens up about the trials of maintaining a publication that has been the target of deadly attacks and wonders how long they will be able to keep the lights on.

A billionaire who is known throughout the financial world has been held in detention — for two months — by Saudi Arabian authorities. But like the billionaire, the story has disappeared. 

Washington accuses Pakistan of playing a dangerous double game of accepting billions in US aid while supporting militants who attack US forces in Afghanistan, including the Taliban. 

The dramatic freeze in deliveries of military equipment and security funding comes after President Donald Trump lambasted Pakistan for its alleged support for militant safe havens, including in a furious New Year tweet. 

Bomb cyclone. Weather bomb. Snow bomb.

What’s with all the weapons analogies for the storm dumping snow on the East Coast today? 

The bomb references may seem to have popped up out of nowhere this week, but the word has actually been used to describe powerful, rapidly intensifying winter storms for decades. 

As the value of the cryptocurrency bitcoin has shot up in the past several months, so too has its environmental footprint.

One bitcoin, which was worth about $800 a year ago, is worth more than 20 times that today. Estimates of how much energy is used to maintain the bitcoin network follows a similar trajectory.

In the past few weeks, the energy used by servers running bitcoin software has been compared to Ireland and Denmark’s energy consumption, and has been called a threat to the future of clean energy.

Iceland's new prime minister is a feminist and environmentalist who is among the youngest leaders in the world. She has a degree in literature with a special interest in Icelandic crime novels. She appeared in a music video 20 years ago with an Icelandic band, Bang Gang. And she's considered Iceland's most trusted politician by numerous polls.

Iceland's new prime minister is a feminist and environmentalist who is among the youngest leaders in the world. She has a degree in literature with a special interest in Icelandic crime novels. She appeared in a music video 20 years ago with an Icelandic band, Bang Gang. And she's considered Iceland's most trusted politician by numerous polls.

Iceland's new prime minister is a feminist and environmentalist who is among the youngest leaders in the world. She has a degree in literature with a special interest in Icelandic crime novels. She appeared in a music video 20 years ago with an Icelandic band, Bang Gang. And she's considered Iceland's most trusted politician by numerous polls.

Here's a fantasy: A world where you never had to wait in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Save for the driving test, you could do almost everything online — from changing your address to renewing your license.

Other things in life — like voting and going to the doctor — would work just as efficiently. Any doctor you'd visit would already have access to your digitally stored medical records, and you’d never have to fill out one of those medical history forms in the waiting room.

Telmary Díaz is a Cuban rapper in the US right now. She's on a very short tour, and you would think that as a musician with dates lined up months in advance, she would have had an easy time getting here.

That wasn't the case. It was a challenge to get here. Some of her band members couldn't get their visas in time, in part because the US Embassy in Havana is partially closed.

More than 100,000 tons of rubber tires are disposed of every year in Argentina. The majority of them are burned, contributing to the country’s already huge air pollution problem. So, when Alejandro Malgor and two of his friends, Ezequiel Gatti and Nazareno El Hom, realized they wanted to start a business, they decided to focus on tackling the problem — and make shoes from the discarded tire scraps.

As a young adult, Reem Kassis left her Palestinian family behind in Jerusalem. She pursued her education and her dreams in business overseas, including in the US.

But the smell of home cooking knows no boundaries. And now Reem Kassis has written a book, "The Palestinian Table," that's as much a memoir as a collection of recipes.

This piece of jewelry is actually an alarm

Nov 23, 2017

According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, one in every six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape at some point in her lifetime. 

Yasmine Mustafa felt compelled to do something about this, so she created Athena — a bluetooth-enabled alarm that resembles a piece of jewelry. 

"It is worn as a clip, magnetic so it can be activated by both hands," unlike pepper sprays and tasers, which Mustafa says can be cumbersome. "You still have to pull it out of your pocket or your purse for them to be useful." 

London has a unique vigil for its forgotten dead

Nov 21, 2017

A few minutes from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, a unique ceremony takes place every month. The Crossbones Vigil follows no particular religion and commemorates no powerful or famous people.

And that's what makes it so special. The vigil is for London's outcasts.

During a recent vigil, the road is closed to traffic soon after rush hour, while a few dozen people begin to gather. Maggie has come to remember her son. "He was 26 years of age, and he got shot and killed in the Netherlands," she says. She needs Crossbones at this time.

As the 60-day mark since Hurricane Maria destroyed infrastructure and buildings in Puerto Rico approaches, there's a mix of hope and dread about economic recovery for businesses on the island. Business owners have to cope with the loss of revenue, employees, customers and power.

The story of recovery after Hurricane Maria is mixed. While the local government touted that power output had reached 50 percent of capacity, distribution is another story.

US President Donald Trump promised last month he'd discuss with Chinese President Xi Jinping how to stop the “flood of cheap and deadly” fentanyl “manufactured in China." 

Standing alongside Xi on Thursday during a press conference after the two leaders wrapped up formal talks in Beijing, Trump said he and the Chinese president would focus “very strongly” on curbing the drug trade and stopping “the lethal flow of poisonous drugs into our countries and into our communities."

After every mass shooting — like the one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday — the satirical news website The Onion publishes the same article: 'No Way to Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.

But epidemiologist Gary Slutkin says there is a way. 

Remember the Panama Papers — that huge trove of more than 11 million documents leaked in 2015 detailing financial data on more than 200,000 offshore entities? 

Now, there's a sequel.

It's called the Paradise Papers, and it's brought to you via the same two German journalists who received the earlier data dump. 

"Here we are again with another leak and new revelations," says Süddeutsche Zeitung correspondent Frederik Obermaier, one of the two reporters who received the Paradise Papers from an anonymous source.

Moscow wags the dog on Manafort

Nov 1, 2017

With the indictment of three Trump campaign officials — including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort — injecting new drama into special council Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the US elections, the Kremlin took a different view of events: The news fell just short of a full exoneration. 

Related: Paul Manafort and two other former Trump aides are charged in Russia investigation

R
Alejandro Alvarez/Reuters

A few weeks after the catastrophic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, I felt a desperate need to connect with others who were similarly grappling with what it means to be American at this particular moment.

Every federal employee knows the rule: You don't keep any valuable item given to you by a foreign government official. When my former boss, Mike Mullen, retired as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his French counterpart brought a thoughtful gift: an 18th century engraving of the British surrender at Yorktown that he and his wife found on a weekend in Normandy.

It, and dozens of other presents Mullen received that day, are property of the United States. Unless Congress expressly approved, or he bought it back at market value, Mullen could not keep any of them.

The Spanish government is threatening to revoke the autonomy of the region of Catalonia, in the northeast of the country. The Catalans, for their part, are threatening to declare independence unilaterally.

But what are the roots of the tensions between the national government in Madrid and the Catalan leaders in Barcelona?

The first wave of university students displaced by Hurricane Maria has arrived to study in the mainland US, taking advantage of tuition discounts offered to Puerto Rican students whose home institutions remain shuttered.

“Coming here was a big relief,” says Rosamari Palerm, 23. She was the first student from Puerto Rico to arrive at St. Thomas University, a private Catholic school in Miami Gardens, Florida with over 5,000 students.

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