PRI's The World

Weekdays 7-8p.m.
  • Hosted by Marco Werman

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.

On the outskirts of Istanbul, a recently opened boarding school cares for dozens of Uighur children whose parents are imprisoned in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province. 

In the dormitory, they sleep four boys to a room on bunk beds. A list of chores is taped to the wall. But heavy on the students’ minds is the fate of their parents, who are caught in China’s widespread system of forced labor and "reeducation" camps that have detained more than a million members of a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority. 

Imagine, just for a minute, living inside a war zone. Going to work every day, caring for your family, trying to be normal in a situation that is anything but normal. That was the experience of filmmaker Waad al-Kateab and her husband, Hamza, a doctor, who made the decision to stay in the besieged city of Aleppo, Syria.

Sandra Puma marched toward the center of Bolivia’s capital of La Paz on Thursday with her six-month-old child strapped to her chest. 

She was marching in a protest against Bolivia’s new interim president, her eyes stinging from the heavy rounds of tear gas shot by police to stop the crowd, which was several thousands strong, from reaching the presidential palace.

In the second day of televised presidential impeachment hearings, Marie "Masha" Yovanovitch, a career diplomat, explained to members of the House Intelligence Committee how she had fought corruption in Ukraine and how the Trump administration abruptly removed from her post earlier this year.

Yovanovitch was ousted as ambassador to Kyiv in May after coming under attack by US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, at a time when he was working to persuade Ukraine to carry out two investigations that would benefit the Republican president politically.

The impact can feel immediate. Anecdotally, walking outside and into sunshine feels reinvigorating.

Science has long proven this to be true: Research shows that time spent outdoors can reduce stress, improve cognition and increase sleep quality. Now, a new study has put a dollar value on the improvement in well-being due to park visits.

In a tiny wooden lodge, in a misty valley in Montenegro, six locals puff away on homemade cigarettes and sip the country’s traditional plum brandy at 11:15 a.m.

There are six glasses on the small table, filled with ice-cold water drawn from their river. It’s that clean.

Montenegro’s rivers are some of Europe’s last free-flowing bodies of water. But they are under threat from small hydropower plants as the country rapidly shifts from a legacy of coal toward cleaner energy.

But renewable energy doesn’t always mean green.

With just a little more than a year to go before the 2020 US presidential election, security experts and lawmakers say progress has been made to guard against foreign interference. But they warn the country’s election infrastructure could be vulnerable to the types of hacking operations that took place in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

Safiya Khalid says the recent elections send a powerful message. 

“You don't win elections on the internet. You win them at the doors.”

Safiya Khalid, Lewiston City Council

“You don't win elections on the internet,” the 23-year-old said. “You win them at the doors.”

Mapuche Indigenous people in Chile take down symbols of Spanish colonization

Nov 7, 2019

Chileans have been taking to the streets around the country to protest economic inequality and a democratic system set up after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet that many say is not responding to people's needs.

Indigenous Mapuche protesting in Temuco, a city 420 miles south of the capital of Santiago, last week tore down several statues of Spanish conquistadors and Chilean national heroes that dotted the city’s downtown area.

Lead levels in Montreal water comparable to Flint

Nov 6, 2019

A recent investigation by Concordia Univeristy has found that Canadian cities, such as Montreal, have dangerously high lead levels in their drinking water. 

This crisis affects as many as 300,000 people who live in the city, particularly in residents of old homes and apartment buildings.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has pledged to spend millions of dollars to fix pipes throughout the city. 

This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences renamed the Oscar category of best foreign-language film to best international feature film, but it didn’t change the rules for qualification: Nominated movies still have to be mostly in non-English dialogue. So, Nigeria's first-ever Oscar submission has been disqualified.

The first clue was that my grandfather never knew his birthday. It was 1917. But was it February or March? And which specific date? For some of his siblings, the discrepancy between their multiple alleged birthdays was a couple of years. 

I deciphered the answers in my great-grandfather’s family ledger. On one page, he had listed his children’s real birthdates; on the next, the birthdates that he had submitted to US immigration authorities.

Picture this: an animated show for children where the main characters are Hindu deities — but they’re preschoolers in a day care together. That’s the premise of a new program, “Ghee Happy,” that’s been greenlighted by Netflix.

Creator Sanjay Patel said it’s a result of his newest phase in life: being a father to two boys.

The guitarist stops fiddling with his pedals as the lead singer, wearing long dreadlocks and all-black denim, approaches the edge of the stage. 

“This one is dedicated to the police,” she tells the crowd, before stepping off and joining them.

The band creates an aggressive wall of noise as lead singer Susana González screams political lyrics criticizing police oppression and brutality.

Afghan security units backed by the US Central Intelligence Agency have carried out extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, indiscriminate airstrikes and other rights abuses and should be disbanded, a rights group said on Thursday.

Human Rights Watch said it investigated 14 cases in which CIA-backed Afghan counterinsurgency forces committed serious abuses in Afghanistan between late 2017 and mid-2019.

China's top pig producers posted their highest-ever profits in the three months leading to September, as soaring hog prices more than compensated for losses resulting from African swine fever.

The huge profits underline how the fatal pig disease, which has killed millions of hogs across Asia and left many small farmers bankrupt, has proved a major opportunity for the leading producers in the world's largest but highly fragmented hog sector.

More than a thousand years before Christ, the prosperous and powerful kingdoms of Nubia lined the Nile River in southern Egypt and Sudan. About a century ago, a Boston archaeologist, George Reisner, in partnership with Harvard University, did an excavation in the area and brought back what is still the largest collection of Nubian artifacts outside of East Africa — making a lasting impression of Nubia on the American public.

US President Donald Trump's unilateral withdrawal of US troops from Syria in October drew widespread condemnation for abandoning Kurdish allies to a Turkish invasion. 

But it was concern for a different group of minorities — and the 2020 election — that helped to usher in a ceasefire. 

After nearly five months of street protests, the economy in one of China's most important business hubs is slowing down. Retail sales are plunging. And the US-China trade war is taking a financial toll.

The demonstrations in Hong Kong have been led mostly by young people protesting the way China governs the territory. It's easy to make a historical comparison to 1989 when young people in Beijing's Tiananmen Square also protested.

Han Dongfang was among those in Tiananmen Square 30 years ago. 

Mojib Ghaznawi says that before he was born, American diplomats saved his family.

“I'm sure there are very specific individuals that are part of my story that I've never met,” said Ghaznawi, who is studying at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government on a scholarship from the US State Department.

It has been a whirlwind week of impeachment and Ukraine news.

On Tuesday, Bill Taylor, acting top US diplomat in Ukraine, offered damning testimony to House investigators in the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump. In his opening statement, Taylor said, “I became increasingly concerned that our relationship with Ukraine was being fundamentally undermined by an irregular, informal channel of US policymaking and by the withholding of vital security assistance for domestic political reasons.”

José Spinelli, a 62-year-old taxi driver in Buenos Aires, Argentina, used to support right-wing President Maurico Macri.

But in this Sunday's presidential election, he's switching to Alberto Fernández, who, according to the polls, is winning over hundreds of thousands of Argentines.

What makes a protest effective? 

Oct 21, 2019

Major protests have exploded across the world over the past week, with people taking to the streets in Lebanon, Barcelona and Chile. That's on top of recent demonstrations in Hong Kong, Haiti, Iraq and elsewhere.  

So, what makes a protest effective? 

Orion Lewis, a professor of political science at Middlebury College in Vermont, studies this for a living. Lewis told The World's host Marco Werman it's not a coincidence all these protests are happening at once.

A massive polio vaccine campaign launched last week in the Philippines, with people going door-to-door giving kids droplets of the oral vaccine.

After being polio free for nearly two decades, polio has returned to the Philippines. Two cases were identified last month. Now, the nation is trying to vaccinate more than a million children below the age of 5.

Isabelle Laurans and her boyfriend tried for years to have a baby. When nothing else worked, they decided to try in vitro fertilization, or IVF. 

But halfway through the process, Laurans' boyfriend changed his mind. He dumped her the day they were supposed to make the embryo in the lab.

Laurans says she doesn’t remember most of what went through her mind that day. What she does recall is the overwhelming fear that she’d never get to be a mom.

“I was 38. I knew it would be perhaps too late for me if I waited for a new relationship.”

After President Donald Trump pulled US troops out of northern Syria, some captured ISIS fighters escaped, leading to a bipartisan outcry.

At the Oct. 15 Democratic presidential debate, candidates said Trump had increased the danger to the US from ISIS.

Does the chaos in Syria help ISIS?

Oct 17, 2019

As the Turkish military continues its incursion into northeast Syria, there are reports of ISIS detainees leaving prisons and detention camps.

Five ISIS detainees escaped from Navkur prison last Friday after Turkish mortars landed nearby, according to the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is responsible for all of the ISIS prisons in northern Syria.

Standing between the racks of knock-off Ray-Ban and Gucci sunglasses, Vladimir Borsch guards boxes of retro-looking metal and plastic eyeglass frames that were produced across the street in the 1980s and 1990s. 

“The quality was much higher back then,” Borsch says. “Now everything comes from China.”

At least half of kids under the age of 5 — or about 350 million children worldwide —  are vitamin-deficient, according to a sweeping report from UNICEF released Tuesday. The problem of diet for millions of people in both rich and poor countries has changed, with many more children suffering not from straight-up hunger but malnutrition.