The World

Weekdays at 8 PM
  • Hosted by Lisa Mullins

PRI’s The World is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. Hosted by Lisa Mullins in Boston, it is the first global radio news program developed specifically for an American audience.

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In the summer of 2008, nearly 10 years ago, a certain junior senator from Illinois arrived in Berlin to a rock star reception. Barack Obama — still early in his bid for the White House — was seemingly as surprised as anyone by the crowd of nearly a quarter million that turned out to hear him speak.

Somewhere among the throngs that day was Vitali Shkliarov, a native of Belarus who had moved to Germany to study.

When Manny and Roz de Lizarriturri retired from their advertising jobs near Philadelphia, they wanted to explore the United States in their RV. So the married couple of 33 years got out a map.  

“We wanted a more central location. We were looking for a more affordable place to live, and we looked at all these AARP ‘Best 10' lists, and Pueblo [Colorado] figured in a lot of them,” says Manny de Lizarriturri.

In 2008, Harley-Davidson started selling the Screamin' Eagle line of motorcycle tuners. The small, neon-orange box, when put on a regular motorcycle, allowed owners to “tune” the efficiency of their bikes, making them louder, faster and more powerful.

A Ugandan in Canada learns to skate

Feb 23, 2018

To be honest, I don’t remember learning how to skate.

I was probably around 4 or 5 years old. The blast of cold air that hits you when you walk into the rink, the tinny-sounding music being piped in — it’s all so familiar to me.

But my friend Keko is new to Canada.

She’s from Uganda. We met last year when I interviewed her. She’s a well-known rapper in East Africa.

People are fascinated by cryptocurrency. It’s not hard to see the appeal — you could make millions.

And that’s what Venezuela seems to be counting on. This week, Venezuela launched the petro, the world’s first government-backed cryptocurrency.

Bering Sea loses half its sea ice over two weeks

Feb 22, 2018

The Bering Sea has lost roughly half its sea ice over the past two weeks and has more open water than ever measured at this time of year.

“This is unprecedented,” said Brain Brettschneider, a climate researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “The amount of ice is less than it’s ever been during the satellite era on any date between mid-January and early May.”


The mass shooting that left 17 people dead on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, is still dominating headlines more than a week after the tragedy — and many of those headlines are overseas.

We spoke with two foreign correspondents based in the US about what it's like to cover mass shootings and gun rights for audiences overseas. Leila Macor reports from Miami for Agence France-Presse, and Estelita Carazzai is a Washington, DC-based correspondent for the Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo.

Mexico's women's team is making world rugby history

Feb 22, 2018

Rugby is a game that favors big, strong players who can tackle their opponents to the ground. The Mexican women’s national team isn't big. In their green, white and red uniforms, the women look tiny next to some of their competitors.

But at an international qualifying tournament in Mexico City last year, the women showed off their biggest asset: speed. Over and over, they outran their rivals — so much so that they won the tournament and earned a spot in this year’s rugby sevens World Cup, which will be held in San Francisco in July.

When Steve arrived in Paris in the summer of 2015, he was 16 and full of hope. He’d spent three years on the road after leaving his native Cameroon and was eager to start a new life in France. But when he tried to apply for asylum as an unaccompanied minor, he realized that proving he was under 18 would be yet another hurdle on the journey.

“At first, all I had was my birth certificate,” he says. “I couldn’t get anything out of it. They told me if I didn’t have a document with photo ID to confirm my birthplace and my age, they couldn’t do anything.”

Minus 8 degrees. That was the temperature one recent day in Shishmaref in far-western Alaska — frigid for most of us, but pretty good for Dennis Davis, because minus 8 means good ice formation on the Chukchi Sea surrounding his tiny island community near the Bering Strait.

Like his neighbors in this Native community, Davis needs to get out to the ice edge to hunt the marine mammals his family depends on for food. But the weather early this winter was warm and the ice was late in coming, which created a dangerous patchwork extending from the town’s seawall on toward the horizon.

No one is there to greet customers as they enter the shop, which would be silent if it weren’t for the hum of refrigerators and the piped music that emanates from speakers on the ceiling.

This business, located in the basement of a hotel in downtown Seoul, has no clerk working behind the counter. Instead, a self-service kiosk verbally instructs shoppers to check out by swiping their purchases under a barcode reader and pay with a credit card.

Automation has arrived in one of South Korea’s most cherished institutions — the convenience store.

Her picture was one of the most iconic images of the Vietnam War: a girl running naked down a road, screaming in pain after a napalm attack.

Her name is Kim Phuc, but to many people, she's known as the Napalm Girl. She was only 9 years old when that photograph was taken by The Associated Press photographer Nick Ut, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. That photo exposed the horrors of the Vietnam War to the world. It also left Phuc bitter and full of hatred. Later, she picked up the Bible and converted to Christianity.

"America's pastor," the Rev. Billy Graham, died on Wednesday at 99.

The son of a North Carolina farmer, Graham went on to become an adviser and friend to US presidents, meet face-to-face with dictators and bring the Christian message to millions around the world. At the same time, he had fierce critics and made comments that would be outside the mainstream today. He said AIDS was God’s punishment, though he later apologized, and made anti-Semitic comments to Richard Nixon that he later tried to explain away.

In the Winter Olympics, we've see teams that had to overcome big hurdles — like athletes from tropical countries competing on snow and ice. But other athletes face bigger foes and tougher obstacles: war, poverty and sexism. Kelly Lindsey, coach of the Afghanistan women's national soccer team, knows about the latter.

Lindsey is American and used to play for the US women's national soccer team — but she's also never been to Afghanistan: The team practices all over Asia and the Middle East.

How Koreans put the 'K' in K-pop

Feb 21, 2018

K-pop doesn’t sound anything like traditional Korean music. But the two waves of music are shaped by the politics — and, sometimes, the countries — surrounding them.

Whatever became of National Brotherhood Week?

Feb 21, 2018

Ever heard of National Brotherhood Week?

If you Google it, you'll see a video of a man in a coat and tie sitting in front of a piano.

It's Tom Lehrer, a math professor turned musician-satirist, mocking the idea of National Brotherhood Week in the 1960s.

Yocelyn’s 18-month-old has chickenpox. Her younger brother, who is 21, caught it too.

“I take the kids to the doctor because they have Medi-Cal, but we have to put up with it if we get sick,” she says.

Medi-Cal, California’s insurance for low-income families, covers children regardless of their immigration status but only provides coverage to undocumented adults in specific, often extraordinary, circumstances. Yocelyn’s brother has had a high fever for two days.

Make your way through the maze of seeking asylum in the US

Feb 21, 2018

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From PRI's The World ©2017 PRI

After every high-casualty mass shooting, there's a lot of heated political debate over how to interpret what happened and how to prevent the next one. The Parkland, Florida, tragedy is no exception, except that these days, the debates come with a steroid boost in the form of tweets that divide Americans even further.

Host Marco Werman speaks with Erin Griffith, a senior writer at Wired who wrote the article, "Pro-Gun Russian Bots Flood Twitter After Parkland Shooting."

The county of Kent in southern England is a fairly peaceful place today — think rolling fields, cozy pubs and picturesque beaches. But it wasn’t always this way.

More than 2,000 years ago something terrible and violent happened here, near the present-day seaside villages of Deal and Walmer. In 55 B.C., it is believed that Julius Caesar’s forces made their first landing in Britain on the beach here, part of a project to push beyond the boundaries of the known world and claim new territory for Rome.

The students, teachers, and administrators of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have practiced how to respond to a school shooting.

Stay calm, stay in place. Those are the messages they had rehearsed during a routine active-shooter drill just days after returning from winter break. 

But still, 17 people died and 15 others were injured.

Ruby Ibarra's memories of hip-hop date back to childhood. 

"I was 4 years old ... and remember being in my family's home and watching one of those Filipino variety shows," said Ibarra, referring to popular programs broadcast both in the Philippines and on networks catering to the Filipino community in the United States.

Late last month, Abdul Aziz Adam posted a video on social media of a group of young men at a Manila airport. They were all glued to their cellphones, the blue light reflecting off of their faces.

"Last goodbye from Manila airport," Abdul Aziz said. "They will leave Manila to Los Angeles in couples of hours. Safe journey guys we will stay in touch. Big love from your brothers on Manus prison camps. Am sure the American people will give guys welcome at the airport."

I was fully booked during the Lunar New Year, with back-to-back patients in both Oakland and San Francisco, California.

I work with non- and limited-English speaking Vietnamese patients as a freelance medical interpreter at local hospitals. Outside the time dealing with doctors and nurses about medical conditions and diagnoses, I spend a good part of my time chatting with these patients.

A comic book hero offers a fresh vision of Africa

Feb 19, 2018

Marvel Comics' blockbuster "Black Panther" has stirred up all sorts of debate.

Hana Baba and Leila Day, hosts of the podcast The Stoop, checked it out this weekend. They tell The World's Marco Werman they were pleasantly surprised, even though they were more than a little worried going in. 

It’s a mystery fit for a Cold War-era spy novel. In late 2016, officials with the US embassy in Havana started hearing strange noises that seemed to be directed right at their homes or hotel rooms.

Most called it a high-pitched sound. Some said it sounded like grinding metal, while others compared it to a kind of hum. Many said they felt pressure changes too, like the feeling of driving down a highway with only one car window open.

No immigration bill as feds ink contract to monitor license plates

Feb 16, 2018

It was a busy week for immigration issues in Washington, DC — but it was also a busy week for immigration agents across the country who are stepping up arrests and finding new ways to track people.

Cherokee playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle is fighting for the rights of Native Americans both onstage and off. 

What can AI learn from non-Western philosophies?

Feb 16, 2018

As autonomous and intelligent systems become more and more ubiquitous and sophisticated, developers and users face an important question: How do we ensure that when these technologies are in a position to make a decision, they make the right decision — the ethically right decision?

It's a complicated question. And there’s not one single right answer. 

But there is one thing that people who work in the budding field of AI ethics seem to agree on.

How Chinese media covers US gun violence

Feb 16, 2018

Chinese state media often hypes American problems and foibles to redirect attention away from China’s poor human rights records. And yet, when it comes to American gun violence, it takes a measured tone.