The World

Monday-Thursday 7PM, Friday 6PM
  • Hosted by Lisa Mullins, Marco Werman

PRI's "The World" brings one-of-a-kind international stories home to America. Each weekday, host Lisa Mullins guides listeners through major issues and stories, linking global events directly to the American agenda.

Adam Stepien/Agencja Gazeta via Reuters 

Poland was once the pinnacle of democracy in central Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union — home to the Solidarity movement and Lech Walesa. But as the country lurches to the right politically, joining countries like Hungary, it may find its position in the European Union, and as a democratic country, threatened.

The radicalization of a surfer dude

8 hours ago
Mike Blake/Reuters

The subculture of southern California surfers has long fascinated novelist Laleh Khadivi. 

She calls those who ride the waves there a "tribe unto themselves."

"These surfers have found their God, it is the ocean, and they will come every day and pay homage to it," she says. 

Alaa Al-Faqir/Reuters

The Central Intelligence Agency is shutting down its program to support rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, The Washington Post reported.

Citing unnamed US officials, the Post said the four-year-old covert operation has had limited impact, especially since Russian forces stepped in to support Assad in 2015.

Film still from “Finding Samuel Lowe”

At the Asian American ComicCon last weekend, speakers on one of the panels — Asian American women who work in the entertainment industry — were asked how they deal with the stereotype that they are “hot” and “exotic.”

Paula Williams Madison, who is of black and Chinese descent, wanted to share a story from her seat in the audience. Madison worked as a TV executive at NBC for decades before retiring in 2011.

I met Christa Schmidt over dinner with the Daas family, refugees from Palmyra, Syria, who are now living in Traunreut, Germany.

The Daases have been in Traunreut for almost six months, but the 76-year-old German tutor is the only German person in town whom they feel a personal connection with. With short-cropped gray hair, bright blue eyes and a slim build, Schmidt twinkles with the energy of a much younger woman.

Opportunity and outrage at Canada's oil sands

12 hours ago

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.

Emily Wright

The week after she handed in her AK-47 rifle, Patricia found out she was pregnant.

Patricia had been a rebel fighter in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, for 14 years. Last month, she was one of 7,000 rebels to hand in their weapons in a low-key ceremony that marked the end of the armed struggle. She now lives in a demobilization camp near the border with Venezuela.

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."

This piece is courtesy of Coconuts Media. More of their reporting on Myanmar can be found at "Coconuts Yangon."

Olive Yang, the royal-turned-warlord, whose CIA-supplied army consolidated opium trade routes in the Golden Triangle in the 1950s, had tabloid-fodder romances, and later in life served as a government peace broker with Kokang rebels, died on Thursday. Yang was 90.

Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin-Sputnik

Vladimir Putin came late to the cyber arena.

Up until a few years ago, the Russian leader seemed to all but ignore the internet and spoke out loudly against it. He called the web a "CIA project," with interests that opposed Russia.

Author Richard Lourie says that's basically because Putin is "a television guy."

Amy Bracken

Business has been booming at the Home Port restaurant in Menemsha Harbor on Martha’s Vineyard. On any given evening, the place is packed, with a long line for seafood takeout. But the restaurant’s co-owner, Sarah Nixon, isn’t celebrating. 

“It’s really rough,” she says about operating this season.

It’s rarely easy hiring a dedicated summer staff, but this summer it’s worse than usual.

Frank Hessenland/PRI

When I met Ali Daas and his family in May of last year in a refugee camp in Greece, they had been without a home since early 2015. After ISIS invaded their hometown of Palmyra, Syria, they escaped to Turkey, then came in a boat to Greece. Since then they’d lived in a series of temporary apartments and several refugee camps.

Courtesy of&nbsp;<a href="">What took you so long</a>

Nasra Hussain Ibrahim was 11 when she realized she’d have to do something drastic if her family was to survive.  

They lived in Hiiraan, a rough region in south-central Somalia where al-Shabaab, a hard-line, al-Qaeda-linked group, and local clans clash. The militants force children to fight, they take over and shutter schools and rape and force girls to marry fighters, while imposing a warped, violent version of Islam. Those who don’t obey face execution by stoning.  


Jack Shaheen, one of the most vocal critics of the way Arabs are portrayed in movies and television, passed away last week.

Shaheen, a Lebanese-American, got interested in the way Hollywood portrays Arabs and Middle Easterners by accident.

It was a Saturday morning in 1974 and his kids were watching cartoons on television.

PD-Photo/<a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>

It’s a scene worthy of a classic heist movie — an overnight break-in with mysterious criminals. What was their haul?

All the cheddar you can carry. Actual cheddar. Cheese from southern England.

Rich Clothier of Wyke Farms was a proud man: His traditional vintage cheddar had just won first prize at the prestigious Yeovil farm show in Somerset, England.

&copy; 2016 Joel Sartore Photography Inc.

When wildlife photographer Joel Sartore photographed northern white rhino Nabire, she was one of only five of her species left on Earth.  

Since then, she’s died, and there are only three northern white rhinos remaining.   

“People ask me all the time if I get depressed,” Sartore said of photographing some of the rarest species on Earth. “I don’t get depressed, I get mad. And I get inspired to want to use their stories and really get the world to try to pay attention.”

Jason Margolis

For more than a century, Newton, Iowa, was the quintessential company town. Maytag started building washing machines there in 1893. The company grew into a global brand, and Newton, a city of 15,000, prospered along with it.

When Maytag closed its doors in 2007, it was a rough transition. At the time, some 2,000 people were building washers and dryers at the old Maytag manufacturing facility. The cavernous building is the size of seven average-sized Walmarts.

50 States: America's place in a shrinking world

Jul 18, 2017
Illustration by Rick Pinchera/PRI&nbsp;

Red state or blue state, we want to know about the issues that divide and unite this nation. Reporter Jason Margolis and producer Andrea Crossan will be meeting with people across the country to see how communities are changing in our hyper-globalized world. We’ll be talking trade, immigration, military preparedness - you name it, we're on it!

Should the US be more isolationist or more engaged? Is China an enemy or a valuable trading partner? Is Mexico ripping us off or creating a stronger North American economic zone? You tell us.

A world zombified by George A. Romero

Jul 18, 2017
Susana Vera/Reuters

George A. Romero died on Sunday at the age of 77 after a battle with lung cancer. The Pittsburgh filmmaker was revered as the godfather of the modern zombie film. With "Night of the Living Dead" (1968), he set the rules for zombies that still hold fast today for many films about the undead. You must destroy the brain or remove the head to kill them. And if you get bit by one you become one and then you crave human flesh.

Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters

Being an atheist in Pakistan can be life-threatening. But behind closed doors, nonbelievers are getting together to support one another.

How do they survive in a nation where blasphemy carries a death sentence?

Omar, named after one of Islam's most revered caliphs, has rejected the faith of his forefathers. He is one of the founding members of an online group — a meeting point for the atheists of Pakistan.

But even there he must stay on guard. Members use fake identities.

"You have to be careful who you are befriending," he says.

You might say Paul Mayewski has been around the block. He’s a climate researcher who’s led more than 50 expeditions to such places as the Antarctic, Greenland, the Himalayas, the Tibetan Plateau, the Andes and more, most recently as the director of the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute. 

Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Venezuela's opposition has called a nationwide strike for Thursday to press President Nicolás Maduro to back off a rewriting of the constitution. The move is ratcheting up tensions after an unofficial vote rejecting Maduro's plan and amid months of deadly protests.

The strike call, issued on Monday, was part of what the opposition called a "final offensive" aimed at forcing Maduro out through early elections before his term ends in 2019.

Tolga Akmen/Reuters

More than a month has passed since a massive fire broke out in London's Grenfell Tower. But it’s still unclear how many people perished in the blaze.

Last week, police offered some estimates that put the death toll at 81 people. But officials have said it will be a while before they can provide definitive numbers.

Rosalba Diaz pushes her shopping cart through what, at first glance, seems like a well-stocked supermarket in Caracas. But looking closer, she can see that many of the shelves are jammed with bottles of vinegar, boxes of salt and cans of sardines.

“There is nothing to eat. I mean, you're not going to drink a bottle of vinegar,” she says.

Toru Hanai/Reuters

It all started with a sticky note.

When the Washington Post published an article back in May about President Donald Trump’s body guard, they failed to notice that one of the photos included a sticky note with the personal phone number of the US secretary of defense.

Remembering AIDS activist Prudence Mabele

Jul 14, 2017
<a href="" target="_blank">UNAIDS</a>

“She represented the best of us.”

That’s how Ambassador Deborah Birx, US global AIDS coordinator and head of President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), remembers South African activist Prudence Mabele.

Mabele was a long-time advocate for the rights of those with HIV. She passed away on Monday.

Mabele’s contribution to the AIDS response began in the early 1990s. In 1992, she became one of the first women living with HIV in South Africa to disclose her status.

<a data-rapid_p="59" data-track="attributionNameClick" href="" title="Go to Duygu and Bolo's photostream">Duygu and Bolo</a>

Mourning varies across cultures. And it's marked by ritual.

Alexandra Locke/PRI

Turkey is marking a year since a thwarted coup attempt rocked the country, and its public spaces bear the marks.

The cobblestone pier in Ortaköy is full of Turks and tourists alike, aiming for that coveted selfie with an Istanbul icon: the Bosphorus Bridge. Or is that the July 15th Martyrs Bridge? That’s the new, official name, in honor of those who died resisting last year’s attempted coup.

Ahmed Saad/Reuters

A year ago, a truck barreled into crowds assembled to watch Bastille Day fireworks in Nice. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 86 and wounded 433. But for all the news coverage of the event, it is statistically an outlier — one of only 36 fatal attacks in 2016 in the West. Events like that night a year ago in Nice represent a mere 2.5 percent of all terror attacks.

When their mother was well and in their home in Lagos, Nigeria, 15-year old twins Kehinde and Taiwo Oni thought that they, like their mom, would finish secondary school.

But when she had to return to her old village due to a chronic illness, money grew tight. Gbenga, the girls’ father, lost his job as a mechanic last year.  This year, instead of school, each morning the twins drag an engine out of their father’s hut and into the yard, where they spend 12 hours grinding dried peppers for customers, earning $1.50-$2.50 a day.