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.

In Elizabethan England, words counted. Particularly the most insulting, offensive and hurtful words. Words like nippycock, rotten hornibus, jackanapes and (whisper it) ninnyhammer.

A painstakingly detailed new study of the records of English slander trials from the 16th and 17th centuries has uncovered an incredibly rich vocabulary of lost British insults. Todd Gray of the University of Exeter studied more than 40,000 ancient court documents to rediscover the abusive language used by real people.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

For the millions of Spanish-speaking Americans who caught the presidential debate on Univision Monday night, there was a familiar voice: Vicente de la Vega.

De la Vega was the simultaneous interpreter for Donald Trump during the debate broadcast — a role he's played at various times during the campaign. He's also the president and CEO of Precision Translating Services.

Brian Snyder/Reuters

Monday night's Trump-Clinton showdown remains a hot topic of conversation in Nigeria — where the election has captured their interest for a while.

And not just for the country's intelligensia. 

Nigerian security guards and secretaries alike are up-to-date on the US presidential hopefuls' latest jabs and barbs, says Nigerian author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani.

For many, the US election is primarily a source of entertainment, Nwaubani says, because the issues are often far from Nigerians' reality. 

In the US, televised debates can change the direction of a campaign.

That’s been the case since the first-ever presidential debate in US history, between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, exactly 56 years to the day before Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump squared off in New York Monday night.

But in Britain, political debates have a different history. In fact, the first televised debate between party leaders in Britain was only in 2010.

Adeline Sire

The hills in this part of Burgundy are postcard-perfect. Around the villages of Chablis and Irancy, you see beautifully combed, lush green vineyards.

As winemaker Christophe Ferrari drives up his estate, he remarks that all the fine qualities of a wine are made in the vineyard itself. “If you can’t produce good grapes,” he says, “you can’t create good wine.”

There’s a stunning 360-degree view at the top, and plenty of healthy-looking leaves around. But underneath this greenery is a painful truth. It's something Ferrari hasn't seen in his 30 years of winemaking.

Families are divided over Colombia's peace vote

9 hours ago
Felipe Caicedo/Reuters

Colombia is on the threshold of a new era: a peaceful one.

For 52 years, there's been violence between the government and rebels who see themselves as defenders of the poor.

The main rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC, formally signed a peace deal with the government Monday in a solemn ceremony in the coastal city of Cartagena.

But there's a hitch. Colombians have to approve the deal in a referendum this weekend. And there is a powerful "no" campaign.

The vote is dividing families.

Nearly every cyclist has had to, at times, quickly swerve out of the way to avoid drivers opening their car doors. Doing so is dangerous, and it recently claimed the life of a young woman from Somerville, Massachusetts

There’s even a term for it: dooring. Or getting doored.

But doctor Michael Charney wants to make the road safer for cyclists by following Amsterdam’s lead. 

Miami mourns a baseball star

Sep 26, 2016
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball is mourning the tragic loss of a star player.

Pitcher Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins died over the weekend in a boating accident.

The 24-year-old Fernandez was beloved by the team, and by the wider Miami community.

“He was one of us,” writes Miami Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago.

Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

Even by the grim standards of Syria’s five-year-old civil war, the news from Aleppo has been particularly shocking in recent days. 

Syrian military forces and their Russian allies appear to be trying to wipe out whatever remains of the opposition in the northern city with an intense bombing campaign. 

We talk about war and human violence every day on the news program I host, The World. But, as experimental psychologist Steven Pinker reminded me recently, "You don't say where things are going right. What about all the parts of the world that used to be in flames, just consumed by war, but which are now at peace?"

Bridgette Burkholder

Humans have been eating meat since, well, before we were human.

But there are so many of us now eating so much meat that raising all those animals is having a big impact on the global environment, including the climate.

That has people around the world scrambling for meat substitutes, but something better than those dry and pasty veggie burgers.

Patrick Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, thinks he's hit the jackpot. His company invented a veggie burger that claims to taste, feel and even bleed like the real thing.

Friday's Google Doodle was a tip of the hat to El Santo, the late professional wrestler who was known as the star of lucha libre in Mexico.

And even though he's been dead for over 30 years, El Santo remains an icon for many Mexicans. So here's what you need to know.

The name "El Santo" means "The Saint." For four decades he always wore a silver mask, and refused to reveal his identity. Legend has it he even wore the mask at home, and had a special one made so he could eat more comfortably.

On September 15, at sunset in Arizona, a crowd gathered at the corner of a Chevron gas station called the Mesa Star. Like every year since 2002, Rana Sodhi hosted a memorial here for his brother, Balbir Singh Sodhi. Balbir was shot while planting flowers in front of his store on September 15, 2001 — four days after the 9/11 attacks.

Be like Norway. Do taco Friday.

Sep 23, 2016
Alejandro Acosta/Reuters

If you need an idea for dinner this Friday night, The World has a Norwegian dish for you: Tacos. 

Yes. Tacos. Norwegians are crazy about them.

And every Friday night is taco night in Norway. People invite friends over and share a meal.

It's huge, as The Norwegian American reports

It started out with stickers installed over street signs in Toronto, Canada. 

Printed on those stickers were indigenous names, either for the streets themselves or the area the streets run through. For three years, members of the Ogimaa Mikana project posted these informal reminders of what the First Nation peoples called these places long ago.

They created billboards, street signs and plaques to make the city's indigenous history and residents more visible. None of it was officially sanctioned.

Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Ahilan Arulanantham was filing papers for a case he was working on, to provide counsel for children facing deportation, when the MacArthur Foundation called him.

His phone rang three or four separate times before he picked up.

“It was a very busy day,” says Arulanantham. “I was just wondering who this pesky caller was.”

Mission Asset Fund

One of this year's recipients of the MacArthur Foundation's "genius grants" is Jose Quinonez.

He's being recognized for his work connecting low-income immigrants to mainstream financial services.

Sounds a little bland, but it's an absolutely critical service, and his is an absolutely genius solution. (Disclosure: The MacArthur Foundation also funds PRI.org reporting.)

A pro-Trump Egyptian's thoughts on the US election

Sep 23, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi made headlines Wednesday when he declared that he has "no doubt" that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would make a strong leader. But how do regular Egyptians feel?

Sisi, who has been criticized for his authoritarian leanings, met with both Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in New York on Monday.

Caren Firouz/Reuters

The Afghan government has reached a peace deal with one its oldest enemies: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and his Hezb-e-Islami group.

But Hekmatyar’s name is one that brings terror to many Afghans.

“His name, to me, means: blood,” says Qais Akbar Omar, author of "A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story."

Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

For more than 50 years, Cuba was an enemy of the United States. But not every American has seen Cuba as a threat.  

“You know, I tell folks all the time, I wake up every morning worried about something, but being invaded by Cuba is not one of them,” says Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau.

Courtesy Project Runway

Fashion designer Roberi Parra is familiar with widespread shortages of food, supplies, and medicine. But as a contestant on this season's "Project Runway," he's a world away from his hometown of Caracas, Venezuela. 

The show's first episode featured a surprise challenge: The hosts of the series welcome the designers at a launch party. The designers are then a bit startled to learn that the decor for the party will also serve as materials for their looks.

The central Italian town of Amatrice is still a mess of toppled buildings and rubble. Buried there are centuries worth of art and artifacts.

Mohammed Badran was forced to flee his home in Syria when he was 19. But don't feel bad for him.

Earlier this week, Badran was a guest at the United Nations' Summit for Refugees and Migrants, where he made clear something that gets lost in coverage of the refugee crisis: A person fleeing their home is not a victim forever. Being a refugee isn't an identity, he says.

Israelis are closely following the US election, but in newspapers read by ultra-Orthodox Jews, there are no photos of Hillary Clinton — and some editors say that won't change, even if she becomes president.

Beni Rabinovich, a staff writer at the Yated Neeman newspaper, says publishing pictures of Clinton just isn’t done at his daily.

“If we write about Clinton and Trump, it’s much easier to run a picture of Trump,” Rabinovich says.

Reuters/U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joely Santiago/Handout 

The completion of a US weapons deal with Israel worth $38 billion clears the way for two of Israel's Arab neighbors to buy US fighter jets.

Qatar wants to buy 36 Boeing F-15 fighter jets. Kuwait has been waiting to buy 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. “Those have been on hold for years now,” says journalist Dan De Luce, who follows defense matters for Foreign Policy.

Reuters

The murderers struck in the heart of Washington's Embassy Row.  

Four decades ago today, former Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt, his assistant, were killed when a remote-controlled bomb taped beneath their vehicle detonated.

Letelier had been living in exile in Washington, after serving in the administration of Chile's socialist President Salvador Allende.

When Gen. Augusto Pinochet led a coup that ousted Allende in 1973, Letelier was among the first to be arrested and tortured by the new regime. 

BBC/Wietske Burema

The BBC’s Lyse Doucet has covered the war in Syria since it began five long years ago. So when happenstance found Doucet in her native Canada, she heard about a picnic being held for re-settled refugees from that savage conflict.

The picnic, on Sunday, was in a park in the Leslieville neighborhood of Toronto. Doucet went along with her team, and was doing interviews when a child ran up and asked her name. As soon as she did, a group of children started calling out to her.

Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters

Late Monday night, a detention center established by the EU to process refugees arriving to Europe erupted in fire.

The Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos is one of the country’s biggest centers for refugees, and was one of the most troubled even before the flames.

“No one wants to burn his own home,” said a refugee who was among the 4,000 who had evacuated the site and were huddled along the road with their belongings.

Chris Keane/Reuters

Political scientist David McClennan has noticed something unusual at Trump rallies in North Carolina this election cycle. “It’s loud, raucous crowds, but you don’t see people who appear to be current or former military.”

Naomi Gingold

The day after Sept. 11, 2001, Rana Singh Sodhi and his older brother, Balbir, were out running some errands in and around Phoenix. Rana remembers that they started getting harassed.

“People yell to us, using [the] F-word, and ‘Go back to your country!’” he recalls.

But they were in their country. The brothers had immigrated to the US more than a decade before.

The Sodhis belong to the Sikh faith. In Sikhism, men don't cut their hair; they wear it in turbans and have beards. And Rana says, after 9/11, the Sikh men he knew were all having similar problems.

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