PRI's The World

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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.

Iraqi Kurds go to the polls on Monday to take part in a historic referendum on their future. Should the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region remain part of Iraq, or become an independent country?

Thousands have died fighting for an independent Kurdistan, and tens of thousands of civilians were killed by Saddam Hussein’s army.

This is a nonbinding vote but Kurdish leaders hope it will be a major step toward nationhood. That would be the realization of a long-held dream for many. 

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will not be going home anytime soon. His opinion piece in The Washington Post has drawn fire in the Saudi press, all because he dared write about a crackdown on free speech in the kingdom.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will not be going home anytime soon. His opinion piece in The Washington Post has drawn fire in the Saudi press, all because he dared write about a crackdown on free speech in the kingdom.

Russia puts Kalashnikov on a pedestal

Sep 20, 2017

Russia is putting Kalashnikov on a pedestal, literally and metaphorically.

Literally, a statue of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the iconic AK-47 rifle, was unveiled in downtown Moscow on Tuesday. Metaphorically, the Kremlin is pushing his rifle as “a true cultural brand of Russia.”

The Kalashnikov rifle, in all its forms, is the most popular weapon ever made. It's killed more people than any other single weapon, including the atomic bomb. And yet, now you can buy Kalashnikov tchotchkes at a special souvenir shop at the Moscow International Airport.

Ximena Cortez, a 22-year-old software test engineer, clutches two manila folders as she sits across from a lawyer. They contain her and her brother’s renewal applications for a federal program that grants two-year reprieves from deportation for undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, like them.

Facebook said Wednesday an internal review showed that hundreds of Russia-linked fake accounts were used to buy ads aimed at inflaming political tensions ahead of and following the 2016 US presidential election.

The review, triggered by concerns about organized efforts to deceptively use the leading social network to influence US politics, uncovered accounts that may have been part of an orchestrated campaign to exacerbate political divisions.

The Northwest Passage has an identity crisis.

The US thinks it's international waters. Canada claims it as their internal waters. 

And as traffic through the arctic sea route increases, experts worry its disputed legal status is leaving the northern Arctic vulnerable to catastrophe.   

Compromise has kept territorial dispute at bay for nearly 30 years

The Northwest Passage was historically ice choked and impenetrable, a destination only for the hardiest explorers.

At an AIDS clinic in a trendy part of Moscow, bucking taboos about HIV and AIDS is an everyday part of the job.

In Texas, thousands of people are taking shelter as floodwaters continue to rise.

But one group might not be taking advantage of emergency services: undocumented immigrants.

Tropical Storm Harvey is pummeling the Gulf Coast just days before a controversial new immigration law is scheduled to go into effect. Senate Bill 4 allows local law enforcement to ask for proof of legal residency at any routine detention, like a traffic stop. It would also threaten police chiefs and sheriffs with jail time if they don't help federal immigration officials.

Instant divorce is unconstitutional in India, finally

Aug 24, 2017

According to a Muslim custom that is rooted in tradition but not Islamic law, men have to say just three words to their wives if they want to dissolve their marriages.

“Talaq, talaq, talaq” — and he’s divorced.

But in India, a group of women petitioned the Indian Supreme Court to end the practice. This week, the court ruled 3-2 that the three-word divorce was unconstitutional and illegal.

Donald Trump is not known for his strong grasp of history. But in controversial unscripted remarks this week, Trump claimed "leftists" were trying to rewrite history by destroying monuments.

“This week it's Robert E. Lee. I notice that Stonewall Jackson is coming down,” he said on Tuesday, referring to the top two generals of the Confederacy in the Civil War. “I wonder,” he continued, “is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after. You really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?"

The US far-right is a fan of — Syria's Assad?

Aug 14, 2017

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has some unlikely fans in the US among far-right communities.

In a video that was posted on Twitter, three men who took part in the Charlottesville protests talk about their support for Assad, the notorious Syrian leader accused of killing thousands of his own people. One of the men is wearing a T-shirt that reads “Bashar’s Barrel Delivery Co.”

"Support the Syrian Arab army," one of them says.

It's been a little over a year since Auschwitz survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel died.

He was celebrated around the globe as an activist and a writer, and for his lifelong efforts to keep the world from forgetting the horrors of the Holocaust.

But for his only child, Elisha Wiesel, coming to terms with who his father was and what he represented was a difficult road.

When I first bought Zoe, my poodle mix, I had high hopes for her future.

I was convinced she’d be an astrophysicist like Mr. Peabody on "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show." 

But it’s been three years, and while Zoe has had plenty of time to think, she has made zero progress on her time machine.

So now, I'm looking at backup careers for her.

Ziynda Kamte says she looked out the bus window the whole way to Cape Town.

She says she never stopped looking back. She was terrified that he would pop into her view, coming to get her and their two kids.

“My husband — he changed,” Kamte explains. “He started being abusive, beating me, treating me like nothing. There were days in which he would come home at 4 a.m. And he just wanted us to jam into it, and make love.”

Montreal's iconic Olympic Stadium has undergone a temporary transformation into a refugee welcome center.

The stadium has agreed to house about 450 asylum-seekers for a couple of months while the government figures out what to do next.

On Wednesday, the first busloads of people arrived, and now they are sleeping on cots, in a hallway, by the concession stands.

“The ambiance is camplike,” says Mireille Paquet, an immigration policy expert at Concordia University in Montreal, “but for now at least they're safe.”

Each week on The World, we feature a unique selection of music. And most every week, we put together the highlights for you here. 

WALK-OFF MUSIC FOR AN OLYMPIC STAR
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is currently the fastest man in the world. And this weekend, at the World Athletics Championships in London, Bolt will run his final 100 meters. There are years of musical tributes to him. 

After Arpaio guilty verdict, immigrant advocates want his legacy dismantled

Aug 3, 2017

News that former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court spread quickly through Phoenix’s immigrant community on Monday. That evening, a dozen women — most of them of Mexican descent — stood in front of a giant balloon effigy of Arpaio wearing a striped prison uniform, and cheered.

Ya cayó, ya cayó, Arpaio ya cayó,” they chanted in Spanish, which roughly translates to “Arpaio has fallen.”

Here's a riddle for you. 

There's a man with roots in Sierra Leone, but who was born and raised in the US. If he creates music that has roots in the sounds of Sierra Leone, is it cultural appropriation? And what if a legendary Sierra Leonean roots musician gladly collaborates with him?

There were Indian troops at Dunkirk, too

Aug 2, 2017

"Dunkirk" has been the surprise box office hit of the summer. It recounts the tale of how the beaten British army escaped the Germans at the beginning of World War II, from a beach at Dunkirk, in northern France.

It’s a surprise hit in the US considering the fact that there's not a single American character in it. America wouldn't even be fighting in northwest Europe for another four years.

But it’s not the absence of an American angle that has caused a minor stink. Commentators in Britain and India are complaining that no Indian soldiers are portrayed in the movie.

Forget the seven deadly sins. In the universe of President Donald Trump, there is but a single deed more grievous than all the others.

It’s leaking.

Talking out of school — so to speak — is strictly verboten within the Trump inner circle. But it keeps happening.

This time, it was a talk by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and one of his top advisers at the White House. Kushner was speaking to a group of congressional interns on Monday. They were told not to record the Q&A with the president's son-in-law.

We love music here at The World, and we love to share our latest favorites with you. From a feminist and rebel in Buenos Aries to a Latin-funk act in Austin, give a listen to some of what we loved in July.

Korea's G-Dragon is on tour, but not for long

Korean pop star G-Dragon is drawing big crowds in the US. But he may not be on the scene for long. He's about to start his compulsory military service in Korea.

The Creator’s game. That's what the Haudenosaunee Nation, which straddles the US and Canada, calls lacrosse.

And they should know — they invented the game.

This month, the women's national team went to England to compete in the Lacrosse World Cup, and they were able to travel on their tribal passports.

For the past few years, humanitarian workers have been carrying out rescues of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe — but a new group wants to put a stop to it.

A dozen mostly 20-somethings from Europe are trying to head out to sea to investigate and possibly disrupt the rescue operations, aiming to prevent more migrants from reaching Europe’s shores.

What is Defend Europe?

When Giovana Xavier looked at the lineup of writers who would attend FLIP 2016, the International Literary Festival of Paraty, she held her breath. Not one black woman author was invited.

“I felt overlooked, left behind; I felt anger and pain. I wondered how could I turn those feelings into something creative, something beautiful, how could we evolve? That's what history is all about,” said Xavier, a university professor at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro who is behind the Intelectuais Negras group, a nonprofit that relies on the "commitment of black women activists."

Opportunity and outrage at Canada's oil sands

Jul 20, 2017

In the early 20th century it was Canada that imported oil from the United States. Now it’s the other way around. The US gets more oil from Canada than any other country. But that might be news to a lot of Americans.

I don’t think most people realize that we get most of our energy imports from Canada,” says Denise Hamsher, director of planning at Enbridge Energy Company, which builds pipelines.

In fact, Hamsher says, 20 percent of our crude oil imports now come from Canada.

On Monday night, fans of the reality show "The Bachelorette" saw something rare on prime-time reality TV: a practicing Sikh.

One of the finalists, Dean Unglert, took his date, Rachel Lindsay, to meet his father, whom he had not seen for two years.

"I am doing my best to make sure she's as prepared as possible," Unglert said, "but I haven't seen my father in two years so I'm equally nervous for myself and Rachel walking into this situation."

International experts investigating the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico in 2014 were targeted with spyware sold to the government, cybersecurity experts said this week.

Adding to a snowballing scandal over spying on journalists, activists and other public figures in Mexico, computer security experts confirmed that the independent investigation into the disappearance and alleged massacre — an atrocity that drew worldwide condemnation — was targeted with highly invasive spyware known as Pegasus.

What a manly week it’s been!

In Kiev, assassinations are becoming commonplace

Jun 30, 2017

An explosion that killed a top Ukrainian military intelligence official in his car on Tuesday wasn’t the only high-profile assassination that’s struck Kiev lately.

In fact, the killing of Col. Maskym Shapoval wasn’t even the only car bomb attack — nor the only assassination the Ukrainian government has blamed on Russia.

At least five attempted or successful assassinations have targeted Ukrainian officials or other prominent figures in Ukraine in the past year.

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