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.

The young woman from Guatemala never thought she would be locked up so long.

“It’s been one year and one month,” Vicente said. She no longer counts the days — only the months.

In 2018, Vicente fled a physically abusive partner in rural Guatemala. One night, when his threats turned deadly, she said, she escaped in the early morning. She put her three kids in her sister’s care and headed north. The plan, she said, was to reunite with her children,—eventually—in the United States.

The epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak is China, but officials in South Korea, Iran and Ukraine are also trying to manage the illness in their countries.

In South Korea, at least 204 cases are documented. Iran has at least 18 cases. There are no cases in Ukraine, but a group of Ukrainians returned from China, and as they were being bused to a quarantine center, their caravan was attacked. The Ukrainian president and health minister are trying to quell the fears of Ukrainians who don't want the virus to spread there.

When high school students in Santiago, Chile, took to the streets in October 2019 to protest an increase in subway fares, Chileans saw an opportunity to denounce systems in place since the country’s 1973-1990 dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet.

Still in the streets four months later, protesters have called for economic reform and a new constitution to replace the 1980 constitution written at the height of General Pinochet’s rule.

As Lebanon’s economy teeters on the brink of collapse, Tsigereda, a domestic worker from Ethiopia, considers herself lucky to be one of the few migrants she knows who are still being paid by their employers. 

With Super Tuesday two weeks away, Democratic presidential candidates are scrambling to convince people to come out and vote on one of the most important days of the primary season. A third of all delegates will be allocated after contests Tuesday, March 3, in 16 states — including delegate-rich states such as California and Texas. 

And in Texas, the Latino vote — which could be hugely influential — is up for grabs. 

For the first time, the environment rivals the economy as the top voter issue in the US, according to new data from the Pew Research Center. Even so, environmental concerns are not racking up many minutes in the Democratic presidential debates. 

The topic arose once at a debate in December when it was raised by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is also a presidential hopeful.  

Foreign policy heavyweights gathered in Munich over the weekend for the annual global security conference.

Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier lobbed direct criticism at the Trump administration's America first mantra, saying it was badly hurting US-European relations.

"'Great again' — even at the expense of neighbors and partners," quipped Steinmeier, who accused the US, China and Russia of making the world more dangerous by stoking mistrust and insecurity. 

Two attacks by convicted terrorists in a little more than two months in London have put the British government under pressure to tighten laws around early release from prison. 

Most of the new diseases we humans have faced in the past several decades have come from animals.

HIV. Avian flu. Ebola. SARS. And now the new coronavirus, which scientists say likely came from an animal, possibly a bat, at a market where live animals are butchered in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The more we come into contact with wild animals, the more we risk a so-called disease “spillover” from animals to humans.

The Church of England is trying to come to terms with its long history of racism. This week, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the church's most senior bishop, said he was "personally sorry and ashamed" and called the church "deeply, institutionally racist." 

So officials at the Church of England approved a motion Tuesday to formally apologize for discrimination against the Windrush generation, the name given to people who relocated to the United Kingdom from Caribbean countries after World War II. 

Twenty-one years ago this month, Hugo Chávez, a newcomer politician, took office in a country that stood out in the region due to its unusually long uninterrupted democratic tradition. He promised to change the country forever. He definitely succeeded, but not for the better.

Sgt. Pedro Elias Ruiz crossed into Colombia in the middle of the night carrying a small backpack and wearing civilian clothes.  

In February 2019, Ruiz hoped to join hundreds of his comrades who had defected from the Venezuelan military to join opposition leader Juan Guaidó in his mission to oust socialist President Nicolás Maduro and “bring democracy back” to Venezuela. 

Zhang Yuan Yuan, a 29-year-old doctor from Beijing, wanted to hit all the top spots on her trip to Russia. She and her husband would spend three days in Moscow, three days in Saint Petersburg and then — like thousands of other Chinese tourists this year — travel to Teriberka, a tiny settlement in the Russian Arctic, that until recently was a dying fishing village.

A year after the United States attempted to deliver truckloads of aid to relieve the humanitarian situation in Venezuela, prompting warnings of the politicization of aid, Washington is renewing its support to the country’s embattled opposition.

Funding the cure: But for whom?

Feb 7, 2020

The push for the Orphan Drug Act (ODA) started out as a fight for the little guy. Before the law was enacted in 1983, patients suffering from rare illnesses like Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) and Tourette syndrome often had a hard time finding treatment options, since drug companies were focused on other, more common diseases. Cue the ODA.

What's life like for residents of Wuhan?

Feb 7, 2020

Angela, an American who lives in Wuhan, China, with her family, and who asked not to use her full name for privacy reasons, is trying to keep the coronavirus outbreak in perspective. 

“You know, overall, me being locked in my house for however long — it’s not a crisis,” Angela said. 

Angela’s Chinese husband runs his business from their home in Wuhan, and she homeschools their son. 

Meet the woman who buries forgotten migrants from Venezuela 

Feb 5, 2020

Early on Sunday morning, two police officers stood by the side of the road and motioned Sonia Bermúdez to pull over her pick-up truck and hand them her documents. It’s the kind of routine identity check that police carry out in this border region of La Guajira, Colombia, but Bermúdez was surprised.

“Don’t you know me? I’m the crazy one that buries the dead."

Sonia Bermúdez

Cuban migrants have become one of the largest groups seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border in recent years. But for decades, Cubans in the US have been seen as the exception to the rule of Latinx immigrants.  

Russia and Ukraine have been all over the news cycle recently, first, because of the Mueller investigation, and now, with the impeachment of US President Donald Trump unfolding in Congress.

Some voters in Washington state can now cast ballots in the presidential primary on March 10, 2020, straight from their smartphones or personal computers, The World has learned.

Nearly 19,000 overseas and military voters registered in Pierce County, Washington, now have the option of using OmniBallot, a tool created by the Seattle-based company Democracy Live, to cast their ballots electronically.

Young Iraqis have spent four months in the streets, calling for an end to a corrupt political system that has largely failed them. In recent months, security forces have killed more than 500 protesters and thousands have been wounded. 

On Jan. 24, the populist Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr announced he would cease support for the protests against Iraq’s ruling elites, which led some of his followers to withdraw from Tahrir Square, the center of the protest movement in Baghdad.

When The Bookworm, a bookstore and cafe in Beijing, announced in November 2019 that it would be closing, there was an outpouring of grief from fans around the world. 

US border authorities have detained more than 47,000 children under age 18 crossing the US-Mexico border illegally since October. They’re arriving without their parents, escaping crime and poverty and hoping to be reunited with relatives living in the US. 

On Jan. 25, 2011, I was glued to my computer, beaming with pride from thousands of miles away as I watched my fellow countrywomen and men take to the streets to demand a more just, equitable and accountable Egypt. Nine years later, the mesmerizing footage of protest crowds can seem so isolated amid the barrage of rights abuses making the headlines — most recent of which involved the death of a fellow US citizen in detention, Mustafa Kassem

A psychologist named James Mitchell walked into a military courtroom in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, today. On the other side of the room sat Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or KSM, the self-declared mastermind behind the 9/11 plot. 

Related: Remembering how America experienced 9/11

The impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump is set to begin in the Senate on Tuesday. The White House has said it wants a swift conclusion to what Trump calls a "hoax." 

The president's troubles are rooted in an unprecedented, rogue approach to US foreign policy and diplomacy — specifically, Trump's pressuring of Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden, in exchange for US military assistance. Impeachment and diplomacy have morphed into a single conversation as the impeachment saga has unfolded. 

“Most of us are here because we want to save the world,” Catherine Conway tells the group of about a dozen women assembled in a co-working space in East London. “But how many of you actually have retail experience?”

A few women raise their hands. Others look around sheepishly.

“Here’s the reality check — if you don’t have a long-term, financially stable business, you can’t help anyone.”

Catherine Conway, Unpackaged

The results of Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election illustrate that China has failed to appeal to young people in Taiwan.

President Tsai Ing-Wen was re-elected for a second term on Jan. 11, winning by a landslide after a campaign in which she focused heavily on the rising threat from Beijing and rejected China’s “one country, two systems” model. The Chinese Communist Party has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and the right to take it by force if necessary.

Batur Durmay says the idea for Istanbul's Asitane restaurant — inspired by Turkish palace kitchens — came about somewhat arbitrarily. 

His father ran a mold-making company in the 1970s and ’80s, often working with overseas companies. Whenever they landed a new contract, his father treated his visiting partners to a good, Turkish meal. 

But it was hard to find a decent restaurant in the area back then.

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