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.

A Dutch brothel where women work for themselves

Jun 15, 2018

From purple and red walls to safes in every room, just about everything at the My Red Light brothel has been designed with input from the women who work there.

It’s also almost completely run by former or current sex workers, something rare in Amsterdam’s world-famous prostitution district. But the most important thing about My Red Light is that its 14 rooms can only be rented by people who have been thoroughly vetted to ensure they are not being trafficked, pimped or exploited.

Gaël Faye, rapper and author, readily admits his debut novel is based on his childhood — loosely anyway. Faye grew up in Burundi at a time of turmoil that inspired his book, "Small Country." The book was published to wide acclaim in France two years ago. It was translated into 35 languages and has just been released in English.

As the novel opens, it’s 1992, the eve of a civil war in Burundi and the genocide in Rwanda. For Gabriel, the 10-year-old narrator and main character, a happy childhood is about to be shattered.

What reporters couldn't see when they toured a Texas shelter for child migrants

Jun 14, 2018

Life for children inside a privately run facility for migrant children at the Southern border is a cross between living in a detention center and temporary shelter.  

That’s according to people who got a brief glimpse inside. This week, a small group of reporters toured Casa Padre, a converted former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, that houses nearly 1,500 boys ranging in age from 10 to 17 who were caught crossing the border between checkpoints. Most come from Central America.

Most college students in the US are making plans for the summer. For some of the many Puerto Rican college students who came to the mainland to continue their studies after Hurricane Maria roared through the island last September, this time of the year brings a more complex question — whether to stay or go back home.

Halina Litman Yasharoff Peabody remembers the events of her life during the Holocaust in remarkable detail.

She was only 6 when Russians invaded her Polish town, arrested her father and sent him to a prison camp in Siberia. The Germans arrived in 1941, setting off a string of horrors for Peabody, her mother and her baby sister: the hiding, the ghetto, the mass graves, the escape by train and the bomb that took two of her fingers.

Germany's Jewish population is small, somewhere around 200,000. Yet in German schoolyards, the word “Jew” is heard regularly, and not in a good way.

“'Jew' is an insult here,” says Berlin resident Gemma Michalski. “If you want to insult somebody, whether they're Jewish or not, it doesn't matter, but it's the thing you throw at them: 'Ah he's a real Jew,' or 'You're a Jew.' That's a sort of go-to insult.”

It’s never been a tough question for her.

Irish podcaster Ciara O’Connor Walsh, 37, says she has always been a supporter of abortion rights. But as she was parking her car one day, O’Connor Walsh was suddenly confronted by one of her own prejudices.

There was a bumper sticker on the car next to hers with a picture of a smiling fetus on it saying, “When I grow up, I’m going to play for Ireland.” The sticker also said, “Love both,” a motto used by anti-abortion activists in Ireland.

Lisa Kum has an endless list of tasks every day. The 41-year-old from Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, has a 19-month-old daughter and a high school-aged son. She’s also tending to her health after undergoing elbow surgery earlier this year.

About 700,000 Rohingya refugees to date have fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar.

They're an ethnic minority in the country, and since last year, there have been reports of hundreds of Rohingya villages being burned, and widespread rape and murder.

Khalida Popal was at the top of her game in Afghanistan. She became the captain of Afghanistan's women's national team and was competing on the international field.

It's been a rough ride for the State Department since President Donald Trump took office. Under Secretary Rex Tillerson, who was ousted in March, many seasoned diplomats left. Key posts the world over went unfilled and are still unfilled.

Little wonder, then, that the new man at the helm of America's diplomatic corps is trying to rally his charges. Mike Pompeo was sworn in on Wednesday as Trump's new secretary of state and said it's time to reinvigorate US diplomacy.

If you get a robocall in Mandarin, just hang up

Apr 30, 2018

If you live in New York, Los Angeles or Boston, chances are good you've received a robocall in Mandarin.

"I get them also, in the NYPD building," says Donald McCaffrey, an officer with the New York Police Department’s Grand Larceny Division in Queens. "I have an NYPD department cell phone and I get them on the cell phone also. It is out of control."

McCaffrey, who is investigating the calls in New York, says they first came to his attention in December when a 65-year-old Chinese woman alerted the NYPD that she had been scammed out of $1.3 million.

I’m thinking about getting a hurricane tattooed on my left shoulder.  

Unintentionally, all my tattoos are a reminder of something: Something that I want to forget, something that I tend to forget, something that I can’t forget. My tattoo would be white, grey and turquoise. The eye of the hurricane in the center of my shoulder, three-dimensional, so if you look right into it you would feel as if my skin could suck you in. 

The town of Santa María del Mar, Mexico, hasn’t had electricity for more than three years. At night a generator hums in the town plaza, powering a few pale streetlights. 

Santa María, population 800, rests at the end of a skinny peninsula sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and a shallow lagoon that locals call the Dead Sea. Most days tempestuous winds drawn off the hot plains of Mexico’s Oaxaca state billow across the peninsula out toward the cool Pacific. 

“Everybody needs hope. Everybody needs a purpose.”

It was October 2013. ISIS had splintered off from al-Qaeda earlier that year. 

The militant group grows stronger and attracts recruits from all over the world, many from Western Europe. 

Ayan and her younger sister Leila are Somali-Norwegian teenagers living in an affluent neighborhood outside of Oslo. They leave their adopted homeland to travel to Syria and marry ISIS fighters. 

On Feb. 27, 2017, a man sits, sipping tea at the dining room table in his Pennsylvania home when federal immigration officers arrive at his door. Once inside, they demand his  ID, which shows he is not a US citizen. Then, they arrest him and his co-worker, who arrives for their morning carpool. Neither man has a criminal record.

Four months later, his lawyer argued in immigration court that none of the evidence the officers gathered should have be used.

Finding forms of devotion in Tuyo's Conselho do Bom Senso

Apr 12, 2018

Spring in New England is a reminder to provide your own consistency and structure. 

The weather hints at a new season by brushing chills over tepid weather. It’s almost impossible to keep up with a ritual let alone choose what coat to wear outside at this time. It helps to have a song or two to guide us through the lack of clarity.

The spring of 2016 was a rough time for now 33-year-old Cherise Greer.

She'd just lost her job at Pizza Hut in Marlow, Oklahoma, where she was a regional manager. She couldn't pay her rent and was evicted from her home. She and her daughter, Angelique, then 6, were couch surfing. Oftentimes, Angelique would stay with Greer's grandmother in Duncan, a small town in Stephens County, about 10 minutes away.   

In the first of a set of hearings on Capitol Hill this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced a slew of questions about his company’s mishandling of user data, and its plans to prevent privacy breaches in the future.

There are more women in prison than ever before

Apr 2, 2018

The substances are different: in Thailand, it’s meth. In Ohio, opioids. In Mexico, women help their husbands, boyfriends and fathers run their drug businesses peddling pills, crack, heroin.

But all over the world, countries are imprisoning women at higher rates than ever before. The reason? Mostly, it’s drugs.

Alert Bay isn’t exactly a premier destination on British Columbia’s rugged Pacific Coast. On this winter day, there are more crows than people on the town’s wooden sidewalks, and most of the few small businesses near the waterfront are closed for the season. The biggest building is an abandoned salmon cannery, a reminder of what used to be here.

It’s a past that Bill Cranmer remembers well.

Women in the global aid sector are saying #AidToo

Mar 22, 2018

There’s been a flurry of stories lately about sexual misconduct in the international aid community. Oxfam workers paying for sex in Haiti. UN peacekeepers assaulting the people they’re supposed to be helping in Congo. Syrian women trading sex for food and aid.

As far as vacation souvenirs go, we bring back trinkets and T-shirts, but we rarely bring back sound. What sounds remind us of our travels?

At times what we hear when we travel can be as much a passive ambient noise as it can invade an entire memory. The sounds of travel are heavily accompanied by their contexts. Seasickness highlights each gulp of a drifting boat and anxiety picks at the hums and hisses of plane engines. In this A-side B-side, the sounds of travel come through on two tracks.

Putin wins, surprising no one, but voter turnout rose

Mar 20, 2018

The result came, of course, as no surprise.

Russian President Vladimir Putin overwhelmed his opponents in his country’s elections, taking in just more than three-quarters of the vote to extend his power through 2024.  His closest challenger, Communist millionaire Pavel Grudinin, came in a distant second with 11 percent of cast ballots.  A ultra-nationalist came in third. Pro-Western candidates barely cleared the 1 percent mark. 

Tamara Kruglova, a pensioner who voted in central Moscow, argued support for the Russian leader was simply the natural order of things.

A guide to Russian ‘demotivator’ memes

Mar 12, 2018

Long before Russia ever launched social media campaigns in the US, Kremlin-backed trolling was alive and well at home. In this online underworld of paid seeders, twitterati and trolls, “demotivators” — Russian internet picture memes — play a special bottom-feeder role.

My dad, Danilo, got a contract at White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles, California just after my brother Chris was born. My two younger brothers and I didn't see him again for almost 10 years.

During the school year, we lived in a small, two-bedroom apartment in Quezon City in Metro Manila, sharing the space with my uncle, an accountant for an American company, and two aunts, a librarian and a nursing student.

In the summer, they shipped my brothers and I to my grandparents’ home in the rural province of Isabela.

In February 1968, the Beatles embarked on their famous discovery of India to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Now 50 years later India is rediscovering the Beatles — or at least the tourism potential of the world’s most famous rock band seeking salvation in the country.

Cheng doesn’t take his eyes off the floor as he enters Annalisa Bressan’s house. His cheeks are pink from crying and despite Bressan’s insistence, the boy doesn’t say a word about what happened. His sister, Cheng Jun, does the explaining. Turns out, the kids’ father didn’t like Cheng’s grade in Italian class and took away his cellphone.

“But you had a beautiful grade! I will talk to your father and explain. Don’t worry,” Bressan says, laughing.

Suddenly at peace, the boy sits down at Bressan’s kitchen table, ready to do some homework.

Daffodils in the park, covered in snow. A snowball fight on the roof of BBC headquarters. Such were the scenes this week in London — echoed across much of Europe — as a blast of cold and snow dubbed “the beast from the east” dragged the continent back into deep winter just as spring was beginning to emerge.

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